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Hair Dryers & Flat Irons Help

I'm having a little trouble deciding what to do about my hair dryer and flat iron while in England. Not to sound high maintenance, but hey I'm a girl and I can't live without either of them. I know you can buy voltage converters but I've read stories about hair dryers not working even with a converter. Also, my flat iron has 125/250v written on it and I read that outlets in England are 220v, so would my flat iron also not work without the converter? Any suggestions are welcome, thank you!

Posted by
51 posts

No need to take a hair dryer. It will just take up space in your suitcase. Pretty much all hotels have them. Even the remote b&bs I stayed in had them. You don't want to haul around any more than you absolutely have to.

Posted by
24849 posts

It is probably a case of poor labeling. Your electricity at home isn't 125 either - US voltage is between 110 and 115, and UK is between 220 and 240. Your device should be fine.

As it gives two specific voltages I expect that it probably has a switch somewhere on it. If so, unless it switches automatically, be very sure to change the switch before using it in the higher voltage.

I agree that most places will have an ability for you to use a dryer.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks everyone! We're actually staying at an EasyHotel since we're college students and used to small spaces. Fingers crossed that it isn't too terrible. We thought it'd be nice to save the money there and spend it elsewhere on site seeing and shopping. Long story short I'm almost positive they won't have a hair dryer for us to use there. I'm really considering just buying a cheap one there. I would think a cheap hair dryer would probably be comparable in price with a converter possibly?

Posted by
68 posts

I can relate to your dilemma. We've travelled many times to Europe, and I've taken a portable set of hot rollers (which I can't live without.) Each and every time, the set has burned out, even with the converter. So this last trip to France, I thought I'd outsmart the situation, and I purchased a set of hot rollers there at one of their big electronics stores. Unfortunately, I could not find a portable/travel set, so I ended up buying a regular set and hauling around for a month. I wish I had opted for the curling iron/brush thingie that takes up a lot less space. Anyway, search for an electronics store in the city you are going to be in ahead of time and see who carries them. I saw blow dryers for very cheap, probably under 20 euro. Try this: http://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/home-appliances/health-beauty/hair-dryers/341_3189_30277_xx_xx/xx-criteria.html
There's a store finder at the bottom of the homepage. Or maybe you can purchase online before you leave and have it shipped to your first stop.

There are other stores, just google it. Good luck!

Posted by
1010 posts

The converter AND plug items can be bought at any travel store or at Bed, Bath & Beyond. You will need them for your flat iron and for your U.S. travel dryer, but it is no big deal. The plugs come as a travel set, which includes other countries. You will need to use the larger plug, plus one smaller one for the U.K. The plugs are labeled. You won't need to carry the other plugs. Both plugs you will take, are very small. You can buy a very inexpensive travel hair dryer at Bed, Bath & Beyond also. Even Target sells them. Then you can use it when you travel at home, even for overnight trips. Everything in London is very expensive, almost twice as much as here. If you buy a dryer in London, you won't use it back home, so it will be a waste.

Posted by
1144 posts

I have to have a hair dryer in the morning, so I carry one with me. (I may just be unlucky, but I have NOT always been able to get one at places I have stayed-One B&B said it had been taken by a guest, and I have had hotels tell me that another guest borrowed theirs and apparently planned not to return it until they checked out.. I learned the hard way that if I have to have it...I should carry it). I buy an inexpensive travel hair dryer- the Con air 1875 with dual voltage. You will still need a plug adapter, and make sure you switch the voltage before you try to use it in Europe. I paid $10 for mine and have had it since 2008. I did take my flat iron in 2012. It worked, but seemed to get hotter than here at home, so I would just be careful with it. It was made to work like yours (125/250v) and did not require me to change the voltage. If something is listed with a range like that, it means it works without having to change anything. (cell phone and camera rechargers are like that too.) I would invest in a few plug adapters. (I buy mine for $1 when the Rick Steves store has them on sale). We usually are trying to charge or use multiple electronics and have left more than one in the socket in the room, so I always carry a few of them with me. England uses the 3 prong variety which are little larger than the others.

Posted by
1524 posts

Too many ugly photos- I give up clothing space rather than hair appliances. I just type in "dual-voltage" and whatever product I'm looking for. Usually there is a switch to flip and then you just need to bring the proper plug. I've done the buy overseas-hit Boots in England, stuff from Magellans and Travelsmith and now I just Google "dual-voltage".

Posted by
767 posts

Gabby- theoretically, your flat iron should work in England since it is dual voltage. The appliance is supposed to sense the different voltage and know it should operate off that voltage. Same with smartphones and computers nowadays. You are not supposed to need a converter. When you use your flat iron, use it on half heat.

If your hair dryer is single voltage (or you discover your flat iron is single voltage) do not try to use it with a converter. You will probably burn it and ruin it. For some reason, the converters don't work very well with appliances that heat up. It is better to go on the travel websites like others have mentioned and get a dual voltage hairdryer.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks everyone so much for all of the advice!!! I decided to buy a travel sized dual voltage hair dryer (since they were very reasonably priced on Amazon) and I bought a converter to take along for anything else I might need it for since it was pretty cheap, so I won't be too disappointed if it doesn't work.

Posted by
324 posts

Ideally, anything you take will be dual voltage, so you would only need an adapter so your items can be plugged into the outlets. A converter changes the voltage your electronics work on, and since you already have dual voltage items, you don't need it.