Extension cord use in Europe

Has anyone ever taken and used an extension cord from America.
Or, are there enough outlets in most hotels on the GAS RS tour? I am traveling alone but I will be sharing a room with another member on the tour.

Did the extension cord work?

Posted by Christi
Whitsett, TX, United States
808 posts

I always travel with one. Works just fine in Europe - we have found some of the older or smaller properties are outlet poor.

Posted by Judy
Rockford, IL
43 posts

Christi,

Thank you for your quick response.
Do you put your cord in your carry-on or checked luggage?

Judy

Posted by Christi
Whitsett, TX, United States
808 posts

I have it in my carry on - I only carry on - never a problem.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
20293 posts

Judy,

A plain extension cord should be fine, but don't use a Power Bar that has any kind of surge suppression or filtering as it will likely self destruct as soon as it's connected.

The small Power Bar shown in the previous reply looks good and you could also use this model which also has a USB charging port....

http://www.magellans.com/dualvoltage-power-strip

Posted by Laura B
San Francisco
635 posts

I just use an extension cord from the local CVS/Target/Walgreen. Light, cheap, easy to pack. Works fine with adapter to charge two phones and occasionally an electric toothbrush.

Posted by Bets
Bloomington
2595 posts

Could someone with knowledge of electricity tell me if using these cords made for 110 electricity is safe on these 220 outlets. I use an extension I bought at a local hardware store in France. No criticism, just my own peace of mind.

Posted by Christi
Whitsett, TX, United States
808 posts

As long as you are not using more than 80% of the amps your cord is rated to carry you will be fine. If you are just charging laptop/phone/camera you will come no where near the amp rating - the most any of those use at 220V is about a half amp. Just be sure what ever you plug into is automatically dual voltage or you have selected the 220V setting.

If you are using any appliance that heats and/or is not dual voltage you will need a converter.

Posted by Faith
San Pedro, CA, USA
186 posts

I've been debating on whether or not to drag my heating pad along. So even with a plug adapter it won't work and/or will be dangerous to use without a "converter"? I have a trip planned to Radio Shack where I figured I could get a second (and maybe third) plug adapter since it seems like we are dragging along lots of things that need to be charged. Do you suppose they have converters as well?

Posted by Faith
San Pedro, CA, USA
186 posts

Bets -- that was a great link. Sigh. Another expense, but like the gal posting on TA, if in pain the expense is well worth not only the comfort from the pad but the peace of mind knowing I'm able to handle my issues just like I can back home. Will get my husband to work with his friend in Munich and see what we can come up with and have it delivered to her awaiting our arrival.

Posted by Judy
Rockford, IL
43 posts

Thank you everyone for your thoughts and ideas. I was just thinking if it was a good or bad idea to take an extension cord along.

I will only be charging phone, camera batteries, and I-pad.

@Bets,

Was the extension cord in France in-expensive? I had the same thoughts of whether an American cord would work in Europe, that is why I asked the question.

Judy

Posted by Laura B
San Francisco
635 posts

Just checking -- if you use a French extension cord for the French heating pad, you will have to use adapters for each US appliance you plug in, correct ? Or will you use one adapter to plug the US extension cord into the French cord and use that for the phones ??

Posted by Bets
Bloomington
2595 posts

She wouldn't be able to use a US extension cord with a 220 heating pad she buys in Europe. because a heating pad would burn it out.
However, to answer your question because I do travel with a French cord for my US appliances, yes, we have a little plug adapter on each gadget we plug in. I just keep a baggie of plug adapters, picking up a couple new ones every year because we invariably forget and lose the small ones.

Posted by Patty
Steilacoom, WA, USA
489 posts

Judy,
That link that Ken posted is something that we got for our tour this summer. We loved it and it will go on every future trip. As a matter of fact, I got 2 and they were worth every penny. Most hotel rooms will have 2 outlets, but usually not more. This way we could charge I-pad or I-phone and do stuff like use the hair dryer. Usually, we fight for whose going to get to charge their stuff. I also like that it was good quality since I fried a battery the last time we were in Italy.

Patty

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
20293 posts

@Bets,

Could someone with knowledge of electricity tell me if using these cords made for 110 electricity is safe on these 220 outlets.

Theoretically there should be no problem using extension cords designed for use in North America while in Europe. It's likely that many people do that without any problems. There are two main considerations.....

  1. Insulation rating - As the voltage increases, the amount of insulation between conductors generally increases. However, the difference between 115 V. and 220 V. is not significant and there's typically enough insulation provided in the design of cords to be adequate for use on slightly higher voltages (however see note below about cheap, poorly made products).
  2. Current draw - this should not be a problem as the North American extension cord will use larger conductors (typically 14/3 or perhaps 16/2) and will be designed to handle a higher current up to the rating of the branch circuit protection. Without getting into a description of Ohm's Law, the current draw for a given dual-voltage appliance used in Europe will be proportionally less on 220 V. systems as opposed to 115 V. systems. As the circuit protection on European outlets will also be at a lower value, I doubt that you'd be able to draw 15 amps, and therefore there should be no concerns with heating of the conductors.

I wouldn't make an unequivocal statement that a N.A. extension cord will never have any issues if used in Europe, but I'd be quite comfortable doing that. However, having said that I would most definitely prefer to use a good quality extension cord with a robust design manufactured in North America, and not one manufactured cheaply offshore. Although all products of that type may have U.L. / CSA certification, I'm not convinced that the quality or safety ratings are equal.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
20293 posts

Judy,

As Laura B. mentioned above, using a European extension cord is probably not the best idea, as you'd need a Plug Adaptor for each device you connected to it. The Magellans model that I linked earlier is a good model to consider, if you only have a few devices to charge.

Regarding the use of heating pads, if the device is only designed for use on 115 VAC electrical systems, I would NOT use that in Europe with a Voltage Converter. The majority of travel voltage converters are not designed for "continuous duty operation", and connecting the heating pad and then falling asleep could be very risky. When used at high wattage for extended periods of time, the voltage converter could just overheat and trip thermal protection OR it could overheat and start a fire. That's NOT something I would ever recommend.

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
12528 posts

I think every room I have stayed in in Germany and the Czech Republic has had at least one duplex (2) receptacle in the room, near the bed or a desk. My netbook has a 6' cord set with a three prong American plug, to which I attach a Schuko adapter.

Most electronics today can be charged off a USB port, and I also have a charger that uses a USB port for the AA batteries in my camera. If you don't take a computer, you can buy a 4-port USB charger with Schuko plug online.

Most places today have a hair dryer, often hard wired, and a receptacle in the bathroom. How many receptacles do you need?

Posted by Judy
Rockford, IL
43 posts

Thank you everyone for all your comments. Ken, I think that extension cord you posted looks like something I really should consider getting. I have just that many items that need to charged daily/nightly.

Posted by Geor
Seattle, Wa, USA
230 posts

For my trip to London a few years ago I purchased a power surge protector that was rated at 240 volts for about $20; this is from an Amazon affiliate vendor. This was mainly because I would be recharging several electronic devices at the same time (they have North American prongs) and would be using some European appliances (eg alarm clock and desk table that have British prongs). The jacks on the protector were of a universal design to accept plugs from many different nations. The cord was a heavy duty one which gave me confidence. I would not use an extension cord or power surge protector that had a thin lamp cord.

Posted by Faith
San Pedro, CA, USA
186 posts

I ended up buying a heating pad with a European plug, brand new, on eBay for $25. Then last week I found an extension cord (used), also on eBay. In fact the description of the cord indicated that the previous owner had used it on their trip to Europe and that the new owner will pretty much find the cord to be one of the best things they've ever packed, so I hope I find that to be true!

Posted by Faith
San Pedro, CA, USA
186 posts

My leg pain kicked in during our second week of vacation and I was so glad I'd bought and packed a heating pad. At two stops the extra outlet was on my husband's side of the bed so I was happy to have the extension cord to plug in on his side and then run behind the pillows to my side. At our last stop my side of the bed had choice of either clock or lamp being plugged in, so again I was glad to have the extension cord so I could read in bed and tell what time it was at the same time! To be sure I remembered to unplug it and take the cord with me I just wrote a note that said "extension cord!" and left it on the dresser with my jewelry. Will never again travel to Europe without my pad and cord (and unfortunately after one week back home we are still both so sick I swear I will never get on a plane, boat or subway ever again!).

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
12528 posts

Would you buy something in the US that was not UL listed? Well, electrical power in Europe is different from here in the US. Devices designed for US application and listed by UL might not be safe for use with European power. Over there, approval for use is by CE. If the device you purchase here doesn't have the CE symbol, don't take it to Europe.

Posted by Lo
Tucson
1173 posts

A couple of years ago, we bought a European extension cord/power strip so that my husband could plug in his CPAP, iPad, phone and the lamp on his side of the bed. We think the extra cost is money well spent.

This trip I finally got tired of unplugging the lamp on my side of the bed to plug in my phone, so I bought a European multi-plug receptacle. Now I can plug in my phone and the lamp on my side of the bed.

We have been lucky to have a plug receptacle on each side of the bed this trip. I did carefully look at lodging pictures and requested that, but sometimes it doesn't quite happen.