I have forgotten plenty of things when I have traveled, and have come up with impromptu solutions that worked in a pinch, but if I were given the choice, I would have wished myself to not have been so stupid to have forgotten said item in the first place.
The bane of foreign travel can be summed up in my hate for having to even need travel adapters.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A TRAVEL ADAPTER
With travel adapters, you need to think about 2 things:
2. Shape of the plug
Everyone thinks it’s just the shape of the plug that matters to convert the electronic you are using, but in fact, voltage is just as important. Basically in North America, we have very weak voltage or currents — 100V – 150V. Everywhere else in the world can vary between this, or up to 240V.
There are travel adapters out there that supposedly convert between the voltages easily, so you don’t have to worry about this problem, but they are rather expensive from what I’ve heard, and I haven’t found any.
I’ve just relied on my electronics themselves to have batteries that are already worldwide voltage-compatible.
WHY VOLTAGE EVEN MATTERS
Who cares right? Electricity is electricity…. except it isn’t, especially if you have a nice $2000 laptop.
The electric current is really only stable above 150V, which makes me roll my eyes as to why we have as North Americans, chosen to go with the lower voltage even knowing all of this.
It is like piling crap on top of more crap.
The longer we leave the “problem” of low and unstable electric currents to rust, the more products are made in those lower voltages, which compounds into more stupidity upon stupidity.
But I digress. All you need to know is that voltage differs worldwide, and it matters when you have really nice electronic equipment you would NOT like to fry or otherwise ruin from ignorance.
(By the way, did you know that the U.S. is one of the only 3 countries IN THE WHOLE WORLD that insists on continuing to use the Imperial system instead of Metric?
The others being Liberia and Myanmar. SERIOUSLY.
For the love of all things…. it is rather ridiculous to hold on to such an antiquated system when you could just rip off the mouldy band-aid and impose the “newfangled” Metric system going forward.)
LOOK FOR ELECTRONICS THAT DO THIS ALREADY
This is why I only tend to pack Apple items when I travel (that, and it’s kind of all I own in electronics, being that they are the best of the worst in the pile, as ALL electronics like laptops are made in China, except for some things like cameras.)
Anyway, if you take a look at the battery chargers the next time you are in your local Apple store (or even if you have an Apple item), you will see that it says: 100V – 240V.
This means that it is adaptable to voltage up to 240V.
You can travel anywhere you want and especially to Europe, plug in your battery charger, and it won’t fry your laptop from sending a steady stream of 240V to your computer.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU’VE FORGOTTEN A TRAVEL ADAPTER
Here are all the ways I’ve tried to obtain one when I have forgotten one:
1. Make friends and ask around if people have one you can borrow.
If you are on a resort with a bunch of fellow travelers, they may very well have one lying around you can use.
2. Go to the hotel lobby and ask the clerks if they have any on hand.
Some hotels keep them on hand and loan them out to guests as they need them, but these hotels are usually the fancy ones that cater to business people.
3. Go to the hotel lobby and ask to look in their Lost and Found box.
Sometimes when a maid cleans the room, he/she can find leftover items by guests, and if they don’t want to (or cannot) keep the item themselves, it goes into the Lost and Found box.
Oftentimes, you will find umbrellas and travel adapters.
Just be sure to put it back when you leave, to pass on the good travel adapter karma.
People forget travel adapters all the time because they aren’t used to using them, and sometimes they stick in the plug when you pull out the cable hurriedly, when you’re packing like a mofo so that you don’t miss your flight.
4. Go and buy one
If you aren’t in the middle of nowhere, that is, and if you are.. what the heck do you need a travel adapter for? You might not even have electricity!
Yes, not the cheapest or the most frugal option but many department stores, and souvenir shops will carry them.
This is the easiest option of all, but it irks me because I hate spending my fun travel money for something I already own and should have carried along with me. This travel adapter will become an everlasting lesson to you the next time you go to pack for your next vacation.
That’ll learn you.