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Too many things to charge

We will be travelling around Salzburg, Prague, Bavaria and Krakow. There will be 3 adults in a room with each having cameras, lap tops, phones etc to charge at night. Can a power bar I bring from home be used to plug into a socket with a plug adapter or is this too much? Also I believe I've read that flat irons can blow a socket with an adapter ... is this correct? One daughter absolutely insists she needs to bring hers.

Posted by
96 posts

I don't know about the power strip but I have taken my flat iron to Italy, France, England and Germany and never had a problem. It says it has dual voltage. I know my daughter tried using hers, which was not dual voltage, while she was in Gemany and she fried her hair on the first pass. I would say check for the correct voltage then proceed with caution.

Posted by
23425 posts

It is critical that you check the input voltage of EVERY item you are going to take to Europe. As long as it says something like Input 120-240V you will be OK with just a plug adapter. A simple power strip/bar will be OK provided it does NOT have a built in surge protector. If the items says input of 120V and nothing else - leave it at home. If you need a flat iron, either buy one with dual voltage or a new one in Europe. A high wattage item like a hair drying or flat iron will often be damaged even when using an appropriate voltage converter.

Posted by
893 posts

Surge protector from US + adaptor to use in Europe = High risk of fire. (Google it) You're just going to have to take turns charging. As others mentioned, check the information on the flat iron and if it works 110-240, then it will be fine to use in Europe. (I have one I bought here in Europe and it works in the US also - I think it's quite common for them to work on the dual voltage)

Posted by
201 posts

Lee, I totally agree with you regarding the flat iron situation ... she should just go without. However you try and get that through to a stubborn 22 year old let alone try and convince girls they can survive with less clothes, make-up etc!!! We've had several arguments already about it and she's determined. Thanks for advising the 120v power bar will work. Unfortunately 2 of our cameras only work on the larger flat type of battery (no idea what they're called) so I don't think there's a USB charger available but it doesn't hurt to look into it.

Posted by
1021 posts

I agree with Frank. A power strip works fine provided it has no surge protection built in and each of your devices is labeled 120-240 voltage. We use one plus an appropriate plug adapter without any problems.

Posted by
201 posts

Thanks for advising. I will check out everything and make sure the power bar is 120 - 240v. As for the flat iron, I think we'll maybe try and pick one up there to be safe.

Posted by
19148 posts

Your daughter does not need a flat iron. The human race existed for millions of years without them. Why do so many females claim they have to have a flat iron or have to have a curler? Are those with straight hair making their hair curly, like the hair of those who claim they have to have a flat iron? What we need are hair transplants (or maybe brain transplants). The power strip does not have to be 120 - 240V, just the devices plugged into it have to be. I know a lot of cell phone chargers only take 120V, but a lot of cell phones charge through a USB connectors and they sell chargers with multiple USB ports. I don't know if any are dual voltage. My camera uses rechargeable AAA batteries. I found a charger for them that plugs into the USB port on my netbook. I can charge them at night while working on my computer.

Posted by
818 posts

If I had to spend one minute waiting for someone to flat iron their hair on vacation I would blow my lid. I am the Queen of Impatience.

Posted by
2349 posts

Make sure daughter understands that she is young and strong and will be carrying all of her stuff. Let her pack what she wants and carry it around the block and up and down stairs for a trial run.

Posted by
32244 posts

Kathy, I have a few comments to add.... To begin with, if you're planning to take a Power Bar it's extremely important that you use a very basic model that has NO surge protection or other electronic circuits built-in. The Surge models are designed ONLY for use on 115 VAC electrical systems and will "self destruct" very quickly if connected to 220 VAC systems. I'd suggest packing along at least two Plug Adapters. For the countries you mentioned, you'll need the Euro style with two round pins. You MUST check the Charger of EACH DEVICE you'll be travelling with to ensure it's designed for operation from 100-240 VAC. DO NOT connect a 115 VAC Charger in Europe! What type of Cameras are you using? Many of the newer models are equipped with "world" Chargers. Another VERY IMPORTANT point that needs to be addressed is the Cell phones. Which network are you with, and what type of phones are you using? If your 22-year old is using a Smartphone such as an iPhone, you'll need to be EXTREMELY careful to avoid data roaming charges. There was a good example in Vancouver last year when a traveller returned from a trip abroad to find a Telus bill for $37,000 waiting in the mailbox! How many phones are you bringing and what do you anticipate using them for? If you have more "basic" phones (without data), you'll need to ensure they're quad-band GSM models or they won't work in Europe. If your 22-year old insists on taking a Flat Iron, I'd suggest packing along a dual-voltage travel model. Some manufacturers specifically prohibit using these products in Europe with a Voltage Converter, so doing so will void the warranty. Check the Magellans website for suitable products. Happy travels!

Posted by
201 posts

Great info Ken. Here's a list of what we have: My Canon camera uses a lithium battery but did not come with a world charger. Daughter's camera also uses a lithium battery and no world charger - not sure of the brand. One daughter has a new Nokia phone that is unlocked and 4G so she'll leave her sim card at home and pick up one when we're there so no worries about hers but I have to double check on other one which is an iphone who was told what she could do from dealer. We always seem to get separated and so wanted to use to keep in touch with each other and also for translation if required, maps etc. I have a net book which was fine in Italy so not worried about that. Will look into travel model flat irons (didn't know they exist). Bronwen - I will be counting to at least 100 every day because like you, it's going to frustrate me beyond belief waiting for hair to be flat ironed, make up on etc. as I'm so opposite. And they will both definitely be hauling their own bags, no matter how heavy.

Posted by
3049 posts

On one thread on the helpline right now, everyone comes out of the woodwork to agree that hair dryers are a necessity, but somehow flat irons are a ridiculous indulgence. Different hair has different needs to look nice is probably closer to the truth. People are not happy traveling if they don't feel they look good. If her time getting ready bothers you, make her get up first and shower first so she can be getting made up while everyone else showers. Or leave when you're ready and have her meet you somewhere in an hour or however long she takes. This stuff is easily resolvable. Anyway, as long as all your stuff is dual voltage and you have the correct adapter, your best bet is to buy a power strip over here. They aren't hard to find, and they're cheap.

Posted by
800 posts

Kathy-on the flat iron thing, I understood that many of the "good" ones that we get here are not dual voltage. I think others have related that the "travel" ones didn't do a very good job. Anyway just something for your daughter to think about. My friend chose to travel without her nice flat iron last year once she started looking into it.

Posted by
201 posts

Well I showed her the post on the flat iron and she won't give in. I like the idea of telling her where to meet us when she's ready and thinking about it, she's not a big breakfast eater, so she can do her hair while we eat and she can grab something quick on our way out. By the sounds of it, the best idea is to find a shop on our first stop (Krakow) and pick up both the power bar and flat iron (which she can pay for).

Posted by
32244 posts

Kathy, Could you indicate what "Input Voltage" specifications are listed on the Chargers for each of your Cameras? I'm quite surprised that your Canon Camera wasn't provided with a "world charger". I use Canon extensively, and have never had a problem with that. Unfortunately, it sounds like you'll need to pack along a Voltage Converter. This is one model that you could consider. You'll probably need one Plug Adapter to use this in some locations, to accommodate recessed outlets. That's often a bit of an "awkward" fit, and it may have a tendency to fall onto the floor, so you may have to brace it with something. Note that this model is only rated at 40-watts, so can only be used with low wattage electronic devices and NOT Flat Irons! Regarding the phones, be sure that everyone checks to ensure that the phones are indeed quad-band GSM models. The fact that one phone is "4G" probably isn't too relevant, since 4G service still hasn't been rolled-out in many places in Europe and 4G is only useful for data anyway. Regarding "picking up a SIM card there", you may find that it may not be possible to get a PAYG plan that includes data, so web browsing etc. won't be happening. You may want to have a look at the "travel phone" firms such as Roam Simple, Cellular Abroad, Call In Europe, Telestial or Mobal, as that may be an option to consider (Roam Simple has an office in Toronto). That would provide all of you with basic voice and text, but probably no data capability. Be sure to check their rate charts though, as some of the places you'll be travelling are in "Zone 2", so the rates will be higher. Text messages are by far the cheapest way to stay in touch. Good luck!

Posted by
201 posts

My camera is a Canon PowerShot SX230 HS. Just picked it up last summer and still have the box. Just checked but nope, no world charger. From what I understand, the Nokia phone is actually a European model that's just been released in Canada. My daughter's company does promotion of the phone so she has all the specs. I'm sending over your comments for her to check. I'm very nervous however of the i-phone. That daughter was told she can text anywhere in the world free ... well I can't believe that ... she's going to check into it. Will look into Roam Simple. Thanks for all this info ... greatly appreciated.

Posted by
22 posts

When you say, "My camera is a Canon PowerShot SX230 HS. Just picked it up last summer and still have the box. Just checked but nope, no world charger." Do you mean no charger at all or it doesn't have the adapter to fit euro outlets? As long as the supplied charger is rated for 110-240 all you need is a plug adapter. Lydia

Posted by
201 posts

Lydia - Sorry, that last post was in response to Ken regarding what type of camera I have and he enquired what type of Canon camera I had. I do have a regular charger and know I can charge it with an adapter but he had commented that most Canons will come with a world adapter.

Posted by
32244 posts

Kathy, I'm still not clear on a few points.... Could you confirm that THIS is the Charger that's used for your Camera??? Click on the "specifications" to see the power requirements. If you look at the label on the back, it should say "Input 100-240 VAC, 50/60 Hz". If that's the case, then it WILL work in Europe, but you will of course need a Plug Adapter. I would be VERY surprised to find that any recent Canon Camera was supplied with anything else. Regarding your daughter's Cell phone, I'm curious to know who told her that she would have free texting??? I wonder if that person was aware that the texts would be sent within and from Europe??? Is she with Rogers, Telus or Bell (or other?). As she's using an iPhone, she'll need to be extremely careful on the data roaming issue. Cheers!

Posted by
19148 posts

I don't think Ken ever said that the Canon comes with a "world adapter". You will never find a singleadapter that works everywhere in the world. He said, "I'm quite surprised that your Canon Camera wasn't provided with a "world charger". If the charger accepts Input: 100-240VAC it is a world charger. Instead of making one power supply for each voltage in the world, manufacturers today make one that accepts all voltages, meaning they one have to stock one part. The Canon CB-2LX adapter is for sale on Amazon as "100V AC TO 240V AC".

Posted by
19148 posts

I don't think Ken ever said that the Canon comes with a "world adapter". You will never find a single adapter that works everywhere in the world. He said, "I'm quite surprised that your Canon Camera wasn't provided with a "world charger". If the charger accepts Input: 100-240VAC it is a world charger. Instead of making one power supply for each voltage in the world, manufacturers today make one that accepts all voltages, meaning they one have to stock one part. The Canon CB-2LX adapter is for sale on Amazon as "100V AC TO 240V AC". The URL is www.amazon.com/Canon-1133B001-CB-2LX-BATTERY-CHARGER/dp/B002NLYUN2/ref=sr_1_2 .

Posted by
9363 posts

Ken, there are a number of texting apps available for phones that do allow free texting over wifi - no data needed. But she would have to be in a wifi area to use it, not just anywhere like she does now. Sarah, wouldn't a power strip purchased in Europe be designed for euro plugs? Then each device would need a plug adapter. A non-surge-protected US power strip would be designed for US plugs and would only require one plug adapter for the strip.

Posted by
96 posts

I looked up your Canon camera and this is the description that Canon gives... "The new PowerShot SX230 HS digital camera is the first PowerShot digital camera to come equipped with Global Positioning System (GPS)* technology. Now you can travel the world and let the camera automatically record the locations and local times ...". I have a hard time believing they would include a charger that wouldn't work on either voltage but as everyone is saying, you should check the print on the charger. I would buy an extra battery though and that way you won't have to charge it as often. As for the flat iron, I bought a $19 one (or maybe $13) at Walmart. It is a "Conair", dual voltage, works fine here or there and unless a flat iron means dysfunction for everyone else to get ready and out the door at the right time then I don't see it as a big deal. Personally, I think traveling abroad is great so you can disconnect from the cell so I would ask her to leave it home but that's just me.

Posted by
534 posts

Flat irons...cameras...hair dryers...chargers..adapters....converters... My goodness you people are complicated.

Posted by
32244 posts

@Nancy, "there are a number of texting apps available for phones that do allow free texting over wifi - no data needed." That's certainly true, however I suspect the information provided to the daughter of the OP referred to texts sent via the cellular network. With an unlimited texting plan from the "home" provider, texts sent anywhere may be free (or provided for a small optional charge), and of course received texts are usually free. However I highly doubt that an unlimited text plan would apply for those roaming on a foreign network. I need to get more specific information from the OP in order to get some idea on the best options for travelling with the iPhone. @Peter, "My goodness you people are complicated." I don't find this to be "complicated" at all. Some people prefer to travel with only minimal technology, while others like to take a number of different items that they feel will enhance their trip in some way. Everyone's preferences are different. Cheers!

Posted by
3049 posts

Nancy, that's true, but plug adapters are really cheap (you can buy like 6 for a dollar online) and small and light. Or she can buy the right kind of US power strip but she's gotta be 100% certain it's the right kind or she'll fry it. I think the EASIEST way to solve the issue - again, see how technical the above discussion is - is to buy a power strip in Europe, have a bag of the plug adapters they'll need and make sure you only bring dual-voltage stuff (or buy something over here). Because converters are heavier and more expensive. The computer I'm typing this on and the monitor I'm using and the speakers I'm listening to all have U.S. plugs but they are all dual voltage devices, and as such are all plugged into a European power strip using plug adapters. Works fine for me. In a major city there should be a big electronics store near the train station where a European power strip and a 220V hair iron can be purchased. And as far as this discussion: welcome to a technological age! It's really not that difficult to bring these items as long as you do a little advance planning like the OP.

Posted by
201 posts

My apologies ... I misunderstood about the camera charger and yes it is 120-240 so it's fine. I will try to find out more about the data plan with the iphone next week and report back. Very good point about a power bar bought in EU. I never would have thought about having to have the adapters for each plug. I don't want to make a mistake with the wrong power bar here, so I'll go with Sarah's plan. It's only complicated until you are aware of what your options are and you can make informed decisions. Thanks for all this feedback. As Ken said, everyone's preferences are different.

Posted by
32244 posts

Kathy, If you want just a basic Power Bar, This Model provides three outlets and is suitable for use in Europe. With this product, you would only need one Plug Adapter (although I'd suggest packing a "backup" Adapter as well).

Posted by
44 posts

So, to sum it up, all I should need is Magellan's Dual-Voltage Power Strip, a couple of adapters and devices that have the 120/240 switch?

Posted by
32244 posts

@Scott, Yes, basically that's the case. However, the Chargers and other devices may or may not have an actual "switch" to the voltage range. With many newer electronic products, this is done automatically, with no action required by the user. Be sure to get the correct Plug Adapters specific to the countries you'll be visiting. Depending on where you're located in Colorado, you might consider attending the next RS group meeting in the Denver area (which occurred today, I believe - there will be another one next month). The very knowledgeable group there will be able to answer any of your questions. Cheers!

Posted by
23425 posts

The Magellan's Dual-Voltage Power Strip at $30 is a little pricey when all you need is a plain power strip from Wal-mart for $10. BUT the USB port is a nice touch but your are limited to three items and you still need to buy the correct adapter.