Convert vs Adapt

We have so many electronic devices and there’s no way we’d consider going on vacation without our Kindle, our digital camera, smartphone or iPad.  But keeping all these devices charged – not fried – in foreign countries is a common problem.

Most of you already realize that foreign countries have different shaped power outlets than we do here in the USA.  Not only are they different shapes, they are different VOLTAGE.  We operate on 110, most of the rest of the world on 220-240.

In order to charge – not FRY – your electronics you will need BOTH an adapter which will fit the hole configuration of the country where you are going ANDconverter to step down the power to an acceptable 110.  My personal favorite is the set made by Samonsite and sold at stores such as Bed Bath & Beyond for just under $20.  It includes a Converter, a set of adapter plugs and a pouch to carry them in.

There are several reasons I prefer this type of set over the fancy, “all-in-one” type sets.  First, not all of the “all-in-one” types are actually a converter and adapter.  Many are just adapters.  If you only adapt, but don’t convert – you will fry!

Second, I find the “all-in-one” to be complicated.  I like the simple, straightforwardness of the kit mentioned.  With the Samsonite kit, each of the plug heads are labeled with the region of the world where they apply and since they are separate, you can take only the one(s) you need.

Lastly, the “all-in-one” are frequently too large to fit into the recessed outlets common in the rest of the world.  You will usually have to “stack” an adapter and a converter in order to make it work.  With a kit such as the one I’ve suggested, as long as there is a converter in between the wall and your electronic item – you will be fine.

Even if you only travel domestically, having a duplicate of your phone charger that you leave in your suitcase is a good idea.    I keep mine in an eye-catching case that I leave out on the desk of the hotel near where the charger is plugged in.  That way I’m less likely to forget the charger in the wall outlet because I see the case in plain sight.

Since we use the navigation feature on our smartphone when we travel, we also keep a car phone charger as well so the phone can stay plugged in while we drive.  These plugs are inexpensive but a major hassle if you end up out of town without them.

The conveniences built into our electronics in the form of navigation aids, currency conversion and language translation apps in addition to the long trip entertainment makes them invaluable to today’s traveler.  Hopefully this will help you stay charged while on the go!

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One Response to “Convert vs Adapt”

  1. sunnykobecook Says:

    A reader, ladylighttravel.wordpress.com pointed out an interesting fact; MANY – NOT ALL electronics are now “dual voltage”. Look at the power plug to your gadgets. If it says 110-240V you should be fine with just an adapter. A quick check of my own toys found the new e-reader I got for Christmas is dual voltage, my original one is not. Same was true for the newer laptop and digital camera but not the older one. Depending on the age of your electronics, you may or may not need the adapter but check – don’t assume!

    She also pointed out a surge protector power strip (small ones can be found at office and electronic stores) can help since many countries do not have the consistent power delivery we are used to and can experience “power spikes”.

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