Well, the time is here – your passport’s renewed, plane tickets are good to go and you know exactly what’s waiting for you when you land. Have you worked out the other minor details of your overseas trip though? Details like making sure you’re carrying the right equipment needed to use electrical appliances that are accompanying you on the trip?
Electrical sockets, simply put, are not created equal. Using electrical appliances abroad means you understand the voltage requirements in that country, in addition to the type of plug or adapter that’s used to connect your appliance. These common sensibilities need to be understood properly before you embark on your trip, especially since you want to keep that brand new camera in good working order, rather than serve it up at a repair shop, half fried.
What You’re Going to Need
The first order of business is to understand what appliances to take with you and perhaps why. Using electrical appliances abroad can be a complex affair, so leaving the ones that you don’t really need, is the best thing to do. What’s not needed on a frequent basis is just going to cause you unnecessary trouble and they’re just not worth bringing along.
Besides, most hotels offer irons and hair dryers for your convenience. You can also get yourself conventional toothbrushes and razors instead of taking the electrical ones. It’s just for a while right? It’s good to break away from your usual routine every now and then. Here’s a valuable tip: get an electric razor or hair dryer from the country you’re staying in. You can also save yourself further inconvenience by getting battery-operated appliances.
This works great too: get travel-sized dual voltage appliances that are capable of running on both 110 and 220 volts. Before using the appliance, just be careful that the switch is on the proper voltage setting, depending on the region. Also be sure to take adapter plugs that fit into the outlets there.
To most travelers, laptops and cell phones are simply something they can’t live about. Additional measures are needed to ensure your equipment works safely overseas.
Even though any two countries may be using the exact same voltage, the outlets often don’t take the same shape – specific pins and designs are needed. This is where adapter plugs come to save the day. The electrical voltage stays the same, while you easily get to plug your appliance in to a different type of outlet. Making sure you know what sort of adapter’s needed is essential; you can check the instructions manual or get in touch with the manufacturer directly to get the nit bits right.
For Morocco, you will want to make sure that you have the 2 round prong (french style) plugs.
Travel stores will often sell inexpensive kits sporting five different kinds of adapter sizes that fit into just about any outlet you could think of. However, these may not apply to appliances that require grounding – that requires a rather costly grounding adapter.
Practically all American manufactured electrical appliances are designed to function at 110 volts. Certain regions in South America, including most of North America, the Caribbean and Japan make use of voltage that ranges from 100 to 125 volts. In most parts of the world, you have between 220 and 240 volts.
Now what you need to do before buying a converter is check the owner’s manual or label to see what voltage it’s designed to work with correctly. Many of the latest gadgets including travel-friendly laptops and cell phones are manufactured to work at both 110 and 220 volts. If this is the case, all that’s needed is a plug adapter.
If your appliance makes use of 110 volts, a voltage converter’s needed. A 50-watt converter for example powers up non-heating appliances, razors and small electronics. High power appliances, including heating appliances (irons, coffee makers, dryers etc.) demand a 1600 watt converter. Combo converters can also be purchased for both types. Simply inspect the label on the electrical appliance to determine the wattage.
Certain electronics are manufactured to comply with the 60 cycles per second electricity specification (60 Hz) and can break if they’re forced to run under 50 Hz. Some appliances though, can function correctly on both frequencies. Check your owner’s manual to be sure.
Where Can I Get Adapters and Converters?
A handful of travel and luggage stores, including RadioShack and Best Buy sell adapter plugs and converters. You can also by them online or in most airports. A set of adapter plugs shouldn’t set you back by more than $20. In certain stores you can get individual adapters for only a few dollars.