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What do I need in order to use my electronic devices in different countries?

Hi all. I am traveling from Seattle, Washington and going to be visiting Amsterdam, London, and Oslo, Norway this summer and will be bringing my iPad, iPhone, and laptop with me. What do I need to buy in order to be able to use my devices, such as a specific type of universal adapter or converter adapter? I don't know if all three of these countries use different types of electrical outlets. Any suggestions or recommendations would be helpful. Thanks!

Posted by
8889 posts

No, they don't all use the same plugs.

  • First, do your appliances work with 230V 50 Hz? Most do, but if yours don't you will need a voltage converter.
  • Second, do your appliances have a 3-pin plug (are they earthed), or do they have 2-pin plugs?

Depending on the answer to the second question, you will need either a 2-pin or a 3-pin plug adapter.
You will need one plug adapter (2- or 3-pin) for the Netherlands and Norway, they both use the same system, called "Schuko".
You will need another adapter for the UK, which uses a different plug-and-socket system.

Posted by
552 posts

Of course this is by no means recommended, but I travel with only the basic adapter: two round prongs, ungrounded, known as a 'type C' plug. It works just about everywhere with no 'fussing'.

When I'm in the British Isles, where they use the 'type G', I push something into the third hole (where our ground prong would be) to release the safety block, and in goes the small plug with ease.

Again, don't try this,... especially in a thunderstorm while using an old mustache trimmer with a cracked housing.

Posted by
31824 posts


Your first step will be to check the chargers on EACH of the devices you'll be travelling with, looking specifically for the words Input Voltage. If the ratings state Input 100-240 VAC, 50~60 Hz, then all you'll need are inexpensive Plug Adaptors. It's highly likely that your Apple products will be designed for "world operation" but you'll have to check your Laptop to verify.

As Chris F mentioned, you'll need at least two types of Plug Adaptors, as the U.K. and Europe use different styles. This is what you'll need.....

I'd suggest packing at least two of each type of the ungrounded models, since they're small and easily misplaced.

Posted by
16890 posts

Also, do you really need 3 different computing devices? Are you using them for work? Try to do without anything you don't really need, as part of the goal to pack light.

Posted by
31824 posts


One additional comment.....

As you're travelling with an iPhone, you'll have to ensure that the model you're using is compatible with European GSM networks. You'll also have to consider your costs if you'll be roaming with your home network (especially data roaming)!

Posted by
17 posts

Hey thanks for all the info! No, I wasn't scared away just busy with college finals lol. I decided that I am just going to bring my iPhone 5S and iPad. I am going to leave my laptop at home because it will just be too much of hassle to bring that as well.