Travel Adapter vs Voltage Converter

What is the Difference in a Travel Adapter and a Voltage Converter?

A travel adapter fits over the end of your electronic’s plug so that it will fit in the socket and a voltage converter changes the electrical current.

American electronics use 110 volts, but European electronics use 220 volts. Fortunately, a lot of today’s electronic devices are “dual voltage.” That means they can work on both American and European current. You will know if your appliance is dual if you see a range of voltages printed on the item (such as “110–220”).

Dual voltage plug

If you travel to a foreign country it is likely that you will need an adapter and or a voltage converter in order to use your electronic devices. Europe and Asia most definitely have different outlets and many have different voltage as well.  Find out what your destination uses before you go on your trip. If you do need to purchase an adapter, it’s easier to do that before you leave.

Travel Adapters

If you travel abroad a lot then it might be a good idea to get an inexpensive universal adapter kit like the one pictured below. This type is great for plugging things in like a cell phone or camera batteries. Please note that this one (and most others) don’t convert electricity and it might even have trouble handling things that pull a lot of electricity, like a hair dryer or water heater. If you do need to use an appliance like that check your accommodations first and see if they have one you can use. If not, as a last resort, you could buy it locally, that way you are guaranteed that it will work.

Universal World Wide Travel Charger Adapter Plug

Universal World Wide Travel Charger Adapter Plug

I also like to carry a universal adapter kit for my computer. The brick that came with my Apple computer is dual voltage but it still needs the travel adapter to fit in the various outlets I encounter.

Apple World Travel Adapter Kit

Apple World Travel Adapter Kit

Voltage Converters

Different countries use different electrical currants and if you just plug something into the wall that has a different current you can totally fry your electronic. Converters fix this problem by regulating the current that gets passed from the outlet down to whatever you are trying to juice. However, most converters tend to be heavy and bulky and I don’t usually travel with one because of that reason. Whenever possible try to buy appliances that are dual voltage. Sometimes though you don’t have a choice and you have to bring a converter.

Universal Travel Adapter 220V to 110V Voltage Converter with 6A 4-Port USB Charging and UK/AU/US/EU Worldwide Plug Adapter

The best thing is always to be prepared. Know your electronics, know the outlet type and know the voltage in your destination.


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