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What is a Travel Adapter?

Travel Adapter

We have all heard stories about traveling abroad where something stops working or is missing altogether. A common mistake travelers make is assuming that their items with a plug will fit in any outlet across the world.

That’s not the case, but there is an easy fix to make sure that you can use any plug you come across. Using travel adapters will provide an easy solution so that you don’t have to go without any essential tech during your trip.

Why can’t I use international plugs?

Most people don’t stop to think about how they plug things into their electrical outlets. That’s because most domestic outlets are either 120v or, for things like appliances, 220v. But that rule doesn’t apply to every destination on Earth.

Different countries not only use different voltages, but different plug configurations as well. We have all heard horror travel stories where using a laptop, hair dryer, phone charger, or anything else requiring a plug becomes totally useless. When you know more about these travel adapters and how they work, it will keep you prepared to travel and help keep your trip enjoyable.

How a travel adapter works

The solution to that problem is to have a travel adapter with you whenever you leave the country (with Canada being an exception). Travel adapters are there to make sure that everything you need to have plugged in can be done with safety and reliability in mind.

So, how does the travel adapter work in the first place? You might hear these also called travel plug converters, but there is a difference between the travel adapter and a voltage converter. The converter lets you use your own plugs on sockets that have different configurations and voltage standards.

In the United States, plugs typically have two vertical flat prongs or two vertical flat prongs and a long, round prong that sticks out beneath them. The latter is typically for 220v outlets, something you would use for outlets or other things that require a higher voltage level.

The adapter is essential because the configuration of foreign plugs can be far different. The way the adapter works is by fitting the plug into the socket wherever you are. These converters typically have anywhere from one to four slots where you can plug in a USB cable. The converters then change the foreign electrical current to either 120v or 220v. If you don’t have a device that isn’t dual voltage, the adapter is a must.

The thing about hair dryers

While the travel adapter is great for charging things that use a USB cable of some sort, it isn’t a universal fix. For instance, if you plan to bring hair care supplies with you, such as a blow dryer, there is an important distinction that needs to be made.

Hair dryers should only be brought along if they are dual voltage. That’s because both dryers and flat irons take up quite a bit of power. By having one that has dual voltage options, you can use them wherever you go thanks to the converter. Without that dual voltage capability, however, it is safer to leave everything at home and buy what you need while traveling.

Having a travel adapter is such a simple thing but it can wind up having a big impact on your trip. If you can’t use your essential tech while on the road, it can definitely ruin the trip. Be as prepared as you can be for any international trip by having a voltage travel adapter ready to go.

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