European Outlet Converter
Cheapest Place to buy: amazon.com
My Rating: 10/10
UK Outlet Converter
Cheapest Place to buy: amazon.com
My Rating: 10/10
Explanation of Outlet Converters
Okay, you are now just a couple weeks away from your first trip out of the country. There are quite a few things you need to do before your trip and if you have ever traveled outside the country, you know what I am talking about. If you have never left the country, you need to get a free copy of the Persistent Traveler International Checklist, you can get that by subscribing on the right side of this page.
One of the most important items that first time international travelers overlook is an Electrical Outlet Converter. Yes, that’s right, not all electrical outlets are the same around the world. They vary mostly by continent, but even may be different between two countries within the same continent.
North/South America Standard Outlet
Throughout North, Central, and South America we have the outlet shown here.
So, if you are traveling to Mexico, Chile, Canada, or right in the USA, your cell phone chargers, laptop chargers, and hair blowers will continue to work as usual. You do not need to buy an outlet converter. If you are traveling from outside North/South America to a location North/South America, then you will need to buy a converter that works here. As far as I know, Amazon.com has the best prices.
European/Middle Eastern Standard Outlet
Across most of western Europe, eastern Europe, Russia, and the Middle East, they use the following outlet:
However, they do NOT use this outlet in England, Scotland, and Ireland. They use the following:
These are likely the most common outlets that Americans traveling abroad will see. There are several other types of electrical outlets in the world, but I would likely have to write a book to cover them. The best thing you can do for yourself before leaving to any foreign country is to go to Amazon and search for “electrical outlet converter Europe” or “electrical outlet converter Australia” (or plug in the country/continent your are visiting) and look in the search results and buy that which has a good price and good ratings. Never buy the cheapest product if it has poor ratings.
220 Volts instead of 110 Volts
In North America we operate our appliances off of 110 volts, while in most of the rest of the world, they operate their appliances on 220 volts. So this will often bring up the following question:
Do my electrical outlet adapters need to down-convert to 110 volts?
Answer: Most of the time, NO. Most likely your electrical items that you will need to plug in will be cell phone chargers, tablet charges, and laptop chargers. If you look at the charger cord, the label will show input and output. Most chargers can take a maximum input of 230 volts, so you can plug them directly into a non-voltage converting adapter.
On the other hand, your hair blowers and curling irons will likely have a max input of 120 volts, so you will need a down-converting adapter in that case. Amazon has a good one below that will work for you. It is a lot pricier than a non-voltage converting adapter. So if you are only going with a cellphone and laptop, you may not need to get this. Instead you can get a cheaper one above that will keep it at 220 volts.
Buy BEFORE You Leave on Your Trip
t is tempting to get “too tired” from all the packing and preparing for your trip and to decide you will buy the outlet converter/adapter once you arrive to your foreign destination. Although you may be able to find it in the other country, it will likely take a lot of time to find a store that sells it. In fact, you will most likely find a store that sells it in the airport and you will pay a premium times 100 for it.
You are far better off buying it from Amazon a couple weeks before you leave on your trip. Then you can spend time having your vacation instead of shopping around for an outlet converter while your phone is dying.
Below is a video demonstration I took in Russia using an American-European outlet converter to plug in my cell phone. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not hard to figure out how to use this adapter, but I thought it would be helpful for those who have never traveled outside the USA to see this. I also thought it was fun to record a demo video from Russia.
Are you sure I won’t damage my phone plugging it into a 220 volt plug?
Okay, I wrote this section just in case you are still worried about breaking your phone. Again, if the label on your charger cord shows a max input of 220 volts or higher (usually 230 volts), then your phone WILL NOT break. I have plugged many cell phones into 220 volt plugs and it charged just like it would plugging it into the wall in the USA.
If you are still unsure and uncomfortable plugging into twice the voltage, then buy the down-converting adapter instead. it will cost more, but sometimes paying more money for peace of mind is worth it.
There you have it, once again, below are the most common outlet converters that you will need to convert to. If you are visiting another country or continent, click into Amazon and do a search for “outlet converter [country name] and remember to buy that which has a good rating and a decent price. Don’t buy anything that has a rating lower than 4/5 and you can never go wrong.
If you have any comments or questions on outlets or outlet converters, please comment below and I will answer your question within 24 hours.