There is nothing like seeing the world and all it has to offer, but traveling isn’t always so much fun. Travel junkies typically know how to pack but there is always the chance that one seemingly small missing item can wind up playing a big role.
Something as small as a European plug adapter can wind up being a lifesaver when you’re traveling abroad. Grabbing a plug adapter is a good idea, just make sure you know which one to get to avoid some pretty basic mistakes.
Picking the Wrong Plug
The single most common mistake people make when buying an adapter for traveling is not getting the right plug. Every country uses its own kind of outlets and your Type A and B prongs – the standard in North America – probably won’t fit in most foreign outlets.
That said, there are a couple of different adapters out there to choose from. A good bet is to pick the Type C adapter because it is compatible with almost 10 different types of outlets. There’s a chance it may not work for where you’re going but you will have pretty good odds of it being the right fit before you leave.
Not Getting Enough Adapters
Running out of power, especially when you can’t get to an outlet in short order, is a huge pain in the butt. Any good traveler knows that you fully charge any devices you are taking with you so that you can navigate and interpret as needed.
But another common issue that travelers face is not having enough adapters to go around. Of course, this all comes down to how many devices you wind up needing to charge. Planning ahead is going to save you a lot of hassle along the way. When in doubt, just pack a few so that even if you have too many, you definitely won’t have too few.
Planning for Only USB Chargers
USB chargers are the most common because they apply to so many different devices. But they aren’t universal, and if you bring something like a hair dryer or straightener, you are going to need an adapter that can fit a standard plug rather than a USB hub.
It’s always best to have both on hand just to give yourself some versatility. You might be able to buy one at the airport or while abroad, but it’s going to cost you a lot more than if you’d just come prepared. Get a couple of different adapter types and you should be ready for just about anything.
Don’t Ignore the Voltage
The vast majority of people probably don’t even think about voltage when it comes to most household items. That’s because those items and their chargers are suited to fit the standard in North America, which is 100-120v. That voltage distinction is important because if your device gets too much juice, it can actually become damaged or even stop working entirely.
The cool thing about travel adapters is that they are really versatile. When you plug the adapter into your device and then plug it into the wall, the adapter switches over to that voltage. Given that 220-240v is pretty standard in most parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia, you should be covered basically wherever you go.
Not many things that you bring with you are going to be higher than 120v, though things like hair dryers and straighteners are actually 240v because they use so much power. Having an adapter on hand pretty much means that you don’t have to worry about voltage.