I'm trying to plan for traveling in one bag and wondering if anyone has ever bought a travel size hair dryer in the UK or Paris, which is where I'm going to be in May? I don't really want to mess with bringing my own and having to deal with conversions and adapters. Or do most hotels carry one? Thanks in advance!
Unlike the US, it is surprising how many hotels in Europe do not provide hair dryers. The hotel website may say that they do; if the website does not say, check with them (e-mail or phone?) or assume they do not. Certainly you can buy them in cities in UK or in Paris, although finding a travel size one will be a bit more challenging.
I realize that even a travel-size hair dryer takes up precious space when you're trying to pack light. However, if you buy one with dual voltage, all you'll need is a UK plug adapter and a continental plug adapter. You can order them from the Rick Steves Travel Store or pick them up at Radio Shack.
Besides, if you buy one in the UK, you'll still need an adapter for Paris. Or vice versa.
I bought a dual voltage, foldable travel hair dryer at Target, and a set of world adaptors. I actually bought the adaptors in London because it is a small nested set that takes up almost no space.
I own a hairdryer that I bought in Europe and that is what I always take with me. I've never had a problem with it. You still may need an adapter depending on where you buy it and where you travel to(e.g. UK versus southern Europe versus northern Europe).
It used to be rare for European hotels to have a hair dryer in the room but it seems more and more have them now. YOu may just want to take your chances and if you find your hotel does not have one, you can always buy one in Europe.
Check the websites or email the hotels. I stayed in London and Paris, in one medium sized chain hotel, the other a smaller hotel. Both had hairdyers, but they are the wall mounted "vacuum cleaner" types (you'll have to see it to believe it). Convenient, but weird since they were sort of like drying your hair with a hurricane hose.
Side note: you can find pretty decent dual voltage dryers in the US. On my 17 day trip to Italy, I took a dual voltage Conair "Pro Baby" dryer with appropriate adapter. It's super small and light weight. Although many hotels had dryers, it was nice to have one I was familiar with.
Brookstone has a few cool travel items. The item I bought was a combo hair dryer/ flat iron. The hair dryer "folded up" is the handle for the iron. The hair dryer has very good power for a compact. The iron does a decent enough job. The unit is dual voltage so all you need extra are plug adaptors.
I bought the same item James mentions (above), it works well.
I may have bought the same one as Nancy, but I bought mine at Walmart. I think it was Revlon, and it was an "international" hairdryer that folded up, was 1875 watts and came with the adaptors for Europe. Just $18.00...