how to choose the right travel adapter



There is no denying that not having a proper travel adapter for your destination can be both frustrating and annoying. Not to mention expensive if you don’t bring one!

This has happened to me before while I was traveling around the world, and I want to help you avoid the same thing. So I’ll say this right away. Make sure you have a proper travel adapter for your electronics before you travel!

In this article, I will show you how to choose the right power adapter for travel and explain why you need one.


Universal Power Adapter


As you travel

During your travels to different countries, you will run into the power issue. North American curling irons, shavers, cell phones, and other small appliances do not connect into the electrical outlets of most other countries. If you don’t have the proper plug-in adapter, you may damage your device.

This might sound a bit obvious, but I wanted to mention that buying new electronics for every place you travel is not the solution either. You end up with too many shavers, chargers, etc. That you will not use once you return home. Not to mention how expensive that will be. A good solution for you is to bring along a proper travel adapter.

Here is what you need to know about them

When electricity first came into individual homes, hotels and other buildings, countries were on their own to decide how those connections to electrical power should be designed. In the beginning, there was no compatibility.

With world travel quite rare and small appliances a thing of the future, the idea of making all electrical outlets the same was not considered. A large majority of those countries decided on their own electrical connection design and that is why we ended up with about 15 different styles of electrical outlets and power supplies.


Electrical standards around the world

To find the right adapter for the country you are traveling to you need to know the design of their outlet and what voltage they use. North America, Japan, and Mexico stand out alone against the world as these countries use 110-127 volts and have different styled electrical plugs.


power adapter plugin


While the rest of the world uses a 220-240 power supply, their plugs can vary from country to country. There are about 15 different types of electrical outlet designs and you will need an adapter or a converter to use them.

The other problem you will face is that some countries may have several electrical outlet designs in different regions. This will mean that you may have to buy more than one style of adapter to meet your needs.

As you can see getting the right adapter can be a bit of a challenge. The good news is if you have a more modern electrical device, it will be able to handle the different voltage without using a converter.

An adapter is all you will need. Make sure you get one that will work in most, if not all, of the countries you will be visiting.


What is the difference between an adapter and a converter?

 Before you begin your journey, you should know that there is a difference between using an adapter and using a converter. Both let you plug your small appliance into the wall outlet but they do not do the same job.

What an adapter does is make sure the power cord plug to your small appliance will fit in the electrical outlet of the country you are visiting. That is it. You may damage your small appliance if you plug it into a power source that is not compatible with the voltage use of that device.

What a converter does is exactly as its name says. It converts the voltage to match the voltage use of your small appliance. If your hair dryer, cell phone, etc., has dual voltage options, then you do not need to buy a converter.


The advantages of USB charging

 Technology has a way of upgrading small appliances and how they get their power. This makes traveling a lot easier for you if you have curling irons, shavers and other small appliances that can be charged through a USB port

You have 3 options on how to charge your electrical devices through a USB port:

  • Micro-USB
  • USB-C
  • Lightning cable


Once you see that you can do a lot of charging through your USB ports, then all you will need is a dedicated USB travel adapter. These adapters usually can handle up to 4 devices at the same time.

It also comes with different connectors you can use to adapt it to one of the 150 countries you are traveling in. What you need to watch out for here are the total amps the adapters send to your device.

For cell phones, tablets and similar devices, you want an adapter that will send 2.8 amps per port and up to 6.8 amps overall. Of course, the more the better.


What to look for in an international power adapter

 There are several things to look for when you shop for an adapter

  • Amps- Adapters provide a maximum of 2 amps, converters should supply a lot more.
  • Less is more- you do not necessarily need a large adapter. These can be heavy and fall out of the plug. It depends on how many electrical devices you are bringing with you.
  • 3 prongs, not 2- if you get an adapter that handles only two prongs, then you won’t be able to connect in your computer or power strip. Get the one that handles 3 prongs.
  • Watch where you purchase- The airports are notorious for overcharging for travel items. I always recommend Amazon online. You can also buy your adapter at a hardware store or trusted one-stop shopping store.
  • Save money- buy one adapter and a power strip. That way everyone can attach their electrical devices in.


Something to watch out for

You need to be careful when you travel to places like South Africa, Brazil, and India. Their electrical outlets vary from region to region and you probably need a special adapter for each region.


Best International travel adapters


Best Universal Travel Power Adapter – EPICKA All in One

  • For use worldwide – All in one
  • Covers over 150 countries
  • Size: 2.8 x 1.97 x 2.05 inches
  • Weight: 7.4 oz
  • Type: Universal
  • USB ports: 4 + Type C



You can check the latest price on Amazon here.


Best lightweight international power adapter – Only 2.88 oz!

  • For use worldwide – All in one
  • Covers over 150 countries
  • Size: 3 x 1.5 x 1.9 inches
  • Weight: 2.88 oz
  • USB ports: 2


You can check the current price on Amazon here.



Best USB travel power strip – Includes 8 international adapters – BESTEK

  • For use worldwide – All in one
  • Covers over 200 countries
  • Type: universal with 8 adapters
  • Size: 5.2 x 3.9 x 1.5 in
  • Weight: 0.95lb
  • USB ports: 5


You can check the current price on Amazon here.



Traveling can be made more enjoyable when you bring the right travel accessories with you. Purchasing the right adapter before you go will save you time and money giving you more of both when you arrive at your destination.

A little research can go along way in making your dream trip even better. The key is to make sure the adapter provides your electrical devices the most amps possible.

Hopefully, you found this How to choose the right power adapter for travel guide helpful. 

Thanks for reading!




best international plug adapter


Related Posts:


You May Also Like:

flight preparation checklist

Flight preparation checklist – what you need to know

first class air travel

Best tips and benefits of flying first class

carry on luggage

What to pack in a carry on bag

best noise canceling earbuds for travel

Best noise canceling earbuds for flying

Bluetooth headphones for travelers

Best Bluetooth headphones for travelers