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Travel Plug Adapters

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When traveling to foreign countries from the U.S., there are things to consider when using any plug-in electronic devices or chargers. The voltage in most countries is 220 to 240 volts, 50 hertz. There are a wide variety of plug and receptacle configurations for different countries.

To use plug-in devices in a foreign country, you will probably need a plug adapter. For older devices and chargers, you may need a voltage converter.

Adapters are available as individual, sets, or universal adapters. Universal adapters provide multiple configurations for a number of countries in a single adapter.

You may want to shop for adapters ahead of your trip. Common adapters can be found at airports and train stations at reasonable prices.

For specific information on voltages and frequencies in different countries see Mains Electricity by Country by Wikipedia.

What to Consider Before International Travel

Which countries will you be traveling to? This will determine the adapters (and converters if necessary) you will need.

Do any of your plug-in devices have a ground pin? If your device has a ground pin, you will need a 3-pin adapter with ground. Adapters with only 2 pins (hot and neutral) are very common and inexpensive.

Do I need a transformer? Most newer devices and chargers will operate at 100 volts to 240 volts, 50 to 60 Hz. Older electronic devices may need a voltage converter to work in a foreign country.

Hair Dryer Phone charger Phone charger voltage label U.S. To Great Britain and Africa U.S. To Great Britain and Africa Front View U.S. To Europe and Asia U.S. To Australia and New Zealand

Hair Dryer

 Voltage Selector

Phone charger

No transformer needed

Phone charger voltage label

U.S. To Europe and Asia

U.S. To Australia and New Zealand

U.S. To Great Britain and Africa

No ground

Front view

Using your Hair Dryer in a Foreign Country

Hair dryers sold in the U.S. can be used with 240 V in a foreign country without a transformer. Before you leave, place the switch in the off position, use a screwdriver to turn the selector from the lower voltage (125 volts) to the higher voltage (250 volts). Actual listed voltages can vary slightly.

This prevents you from selecting the “high” setting on the hair dryer. Since the foreign input voltage (240 volts) will be double the U.S. voltage (120 volts), the “low setting” will act as the “high” setting. There will be no “low” setting in the foreign country.