In Travel

Travel Packing Lists: Forgotten Travel Adapters

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.

TRAVEL ADAPTERS

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:
1. Voltage
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.

IMPERIAL-SYSTEM COUNTRIES

3-countries-who-dont-use-metric-system-usa-liberia-myanmar

Source

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.

Ta dah!

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.

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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12 Comments

  1. SarahN

    So, most electronics (laptops, phone chargers, basically anything with a box, rather than just a cord that plugs at both ends) has a transformer in it, to convert the current for the device plugged into it.

    I have a US to AUS converter, as lighting is sensitive. I got a wake up lamp… now we use it to power the roku…

    The killer is Japan, who don’t earth, and you can’t buy many things without an earth pin worldwide, but seeing Japan doesn’t earth, the inputs for your device don’t have an earth pin!! We worked around it with a non earth adapter I’ve used AusFrance, and this created ‘space’ for the earth pin to float, and the active and neutral to be connected through each charger. RIDIC!!

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Ohhh!!!! What a good idea. 🙂

      Reply
    2. NZ Muse

      @SarahN: Eeek, must investigate this for our upcoming Japan trip!

      I can’t say voltage was something I noticed/worried about anywhere in the world. But I don’t use a hairdryer and our laptop is not particularly fancy.

      Reply
      1. save. spend. splurge.

        Voltage was a big deal for me because of the laptop but then I discovered that Apple has a voltage-controlling feature built-in 🙂

        Reply
  2. ArianaAuburn

    When Cutie and I went to the UK, we had to explore London to find a compatible adapter. We learned that electronics sold in the UK are kept in the back of the store and the only way to see them before buying them was to browse through a catalog. Maybe it is the store’s way of fighting “shrinkage”.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      That makes sense, they’re pretty small… Why not buy some international adapters so you always have them?

      Reply
  3. Elroy

    I’ve stopped worrying about outlets and voltage conversion. Most modern (and western) hotels have outlets suitable for all kinds of plugs and voltages. And the smaller ones will usually lend you an adapter. When I’m really isolated, I find I don’t need to power up my electronics at all – which I kind of like.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I do like disconnecting as well but I still have to be on emails once in a while & to handle mini blog issues.

      Reply
  4. The Asian Pear

    Voltage is usually more important if you need some heavy duty electronics like hairdryer. I think most small electronics (cellphones, etc) are ok in most parts of the world. I have one travel adapter that is quite handy. Another thing I suggest is a multiport electrical with USB plugs.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Good to know…

      Reply
  5. Taylor Lee @ Engineer Cents

    I love my universal power adapter. Came really in handy in Europe where apparently the school I visited had American style power adapters and everywhere else had these weird round things.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Hah 🙂 “Weird round things”…

      Reply

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