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Plug Adapters and Power Converters

I'm going to be travelling to England, Ireland, Itlay and France in a little over a month (my first time abroad!), and am trying to figure out what I'll need to make my electronics work over there. I know I'll need two separate adapters for the countries I'll be in, but can anyone offer some advice on what brand to get?
And any advice on power converters would be awesome as well. I'll have an Android HTC One, a Samsung Tablet, and a small Samsung point and shoot camera. And possibly a hair dryer. I'll have to pile all my plugs together too see what's dual voltage and what's not, but do many items have dual voltage now? Should I get a power converter regardless, to be safe? And again, if anyone has any brand advice I would so love it.

Thanks in advance?

Posted by
300 posts

Your electronics won't need a power converter. Just the plug adapters will be fine.

I've seen dual voltage hair dryers before. We had one without really having sought one so I'd assume they're fairly common. In our case the dryer had a 120/240 switch. It only worked on one speed in the 240 volt setting but in 120 volt mode it had high and low speeds.

It looks like Conair has several dual - voltage hair dryers. On Amazon search for travel hair dryers.

Posted by
1730 posts

I was happy with my REI adaptor - was staying in a place with recessed plugs, and wound up lending my adaptor to someone who had bought one that didn't fit. The REI one is of minimal size, and worked fine. As for dual voltage, of course you need to check your own stuff, but my camera recharger and ipad were both fine in that regard. I've heard of issues with hair dryers.

Posted by
21849 posts

Skip the hair dryer as it will a problem regardless what you take or do. Any high wattage applicence like a hair dryer, straighten, etc., will not work well even with a proper converter. Every hotel, B&B, etc. will have a hair dryer available so leave it home or buy one when you get there.

Posted by
215 posts

I used this in Cyprus, which has the same outlets as England

For France and Italy these- 3 prong are necessary if you take a laptop ...

With no need for 3 prongs these will do,
although I prefer the 3 prong even for my phone and iPad

Posted by
11439 posts

As stated before, you won't need a converter for your phone, tablet or camera. Just be aware that some older European hotels don't have a lot of plugs. Since the three items mentioned are charged via USB, you might consider getting a multi charger that will charge two devices at once. I use this one:

It has enough power even when both slots are being used to charge your tablet and phone. Your camera probably won't need charging as often. You then don't have to carry a charger for each device.

You'll still need an adapter but they can be found in most big box stores, travel stores, luggage stores or even at the AAA if you don't want to get them online. (Just be careful when you order to make sure they will be delivered on time. Some of the ones mentioned in a previous post from Amazon ship from China and can take over a month to get to you.)

As stated before, hair dryers are everywhere so bringing one may just be extra weight. And converters weigh a ton.

Posted by
31516 posts


As the others have mentioned, most (if not all) of your electronic devices should be designed for multi-voltage operation. You'll need to check the charger on EACH device to confirm that. Look for the words "Input Voltage".

The U.K. and continental Europe use different styles of Plug Adaptors, and I'd suggest packing at least two of each, as they're small and easily misplaced. I wouldn't bother packing along the Hair Dryer, as most hotels provide those now, either in the room or on request at the front desk. Therefore, you won't need a Voltage Converter.

Another thing you'll have to check is what the costs will be to use your phone in Europe. It's likely that the phone has the necessary frequency bands for Europe, but you may want to check with your cellular network for roaming costs. Cellular data can be very expensive so it's prudent to check that.

Posted by
4734 posts

The adaptor that Susan has linked to is unsuitable for use in the UK as it fails several points of British electrical safety code just from the pictures:
- unfused
- live and neutral pins too close to the edge of the plastic case
- socket is completely unshuttered

Unfortunately this is all too common with so-called "UK" adaptors sold on the likes of Amazon and e-bay, and for that matter by many non-UK shops. Safe adaptors can be bought typically for £2-3 in the UK; much cheaper than these.

Posted by
108 posts

I have a Conair Travel Hair Dryer like this one:

It's worked great for me in North America and Europe. It dries my hair effectively and no issues switching voltage.

I also second the idea of bringing a multi-usb charger to make life easier if there aren't many outlets in a hotel room. I've used this one in both Europe and North America and it's worked well.

I also now travel with 1-2 external chargers which don't take up much space but can come in handy if you have a long day of traveling, need to use your phone for maps a lot, etc and need to recharge it during the day. Again, I have a couple of these and they've worked well for me.