I will be traveling with my son to England and France this November. I plan on bringing a few electronic items with us; laptop, camera, i-pod, i-phone and heating pad (bad back). I'm a little lost on the converters and adapters as there are many to choose from. Would love some suggestions. Thanks in advance.
Converters (transformers) convert European 220-240 volt 50 Hz electric power to serve North American 120 v 60 Hz devices. A lot of electronics have adapters/chargers that automatically taker 110 v to 240 v AC and deliver the correct power to their device (commonly 5v direct). Heating appliances are a different problem.
Adapters deal with the plug's electrode geometry.
Last fall we took two adapters and a regular extension cord -- plugged the cord into an adapter to charge two phones and a toothbrush. Bought the adapters at a local travel store for about $4 each. Also at Target.
I'll split this into two parts, beginning with.....
- Plug Adaptors - you will need two different styles of Plug Adaptors, one for the U.K. and one for the continent. THIS is the ungrounded U.K. model and THIS is the ungrounded Euro model. I'd suggest packing along at least two of each type as they're small and easy to misplace.
- Voltage Converters - you may or may not need a Voltage Converter. You'll first need to check EACH of the devices you'll be taking, looking for the words Input Voltage. If this states "Input 100-240 VAC, 50~60 Hz", then all you'll need is the Plug Adaptors mentioned above. It's likely that your Laptop, Camera, iPod and iPhone are all designed for "world operation, but they should still be checked. It's also likely that the Heating Pad is NOT dual-voltage.
If that's the case, you have two choices - either leave the Heating Pad at home and buy a cheap one when you arrive in Europe OR use a Voltage Converter such as THIS model. You'll need to check the wattage of the heating pad to ensure that it's within the capability of the Voltage Converter. I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND using the heating pad continuously with a Voltage Converter (ie: when sleeping) as most are not designed for continuous duty operation and could pose a fire hazard. The safest solution would be to buy one in Europe as it will be designed for reliable operation at the voltage used there.
One other point to mention is that as you're planning to travel with an iPhone, it may or may not work in Europe depending on which model you're using and which network you're with. You'll also have to be VERY careful with data roaming, as the charges can be HUGE.
Thanks for the help, makes sense now. I think I'll pick up a heating pad when arrive.
If you buy one in the UK you will need a plug adapter (not converter) to use it in France or vice versa.