Traveling is incredibly exciting, whether you are leaving the country for the first time, or are a seasoned professional when it comes to packing up and exploring the world around you. Travel is not, however, inexpensive, and it comes with many challenges and surprises. One of those challenges is using electronics from your home country, abroad. And for that, you’re going to need a travel voltage converter.
So, what is a voltage converter? A voltage converter is a device that can change the electrical output of a power source. Typically, when traveling abroad, we are bringing devices with us that are built for a specific voltage. A voltage converter converts the power up or down to the correct level needed to safely operate the appliance. Usually, voltage converters change the voltage from 220 to 110, or vise versa. Sounds simple enough, but it’s important to have the right converter. There are many types, and many sizes. Before selecting a converter, though, you need to determine the voltage standards of your travel destination.
If you are bringing appliances suited for a 110 volt country to a 220 volt country, you will need what’s called a “step-down converter”. And if you plan to bring 220 volt appliances abroad with you to a 110 volt country, you’ll need to buy a “step-up converter”. A step-down converter can cover an appliance rated anywhere from 110 volts to about 127 volts, and a step-up converter will work on appliances with a 220-240 voltage rating. These two types of converters then vary in size depending on wattage or wattages of the devices that you’re bringing along with you on your travels. After searching the label on your appliance for the wattage, or amps, you’ll want to find a converter that operates up to two to three times higher than what is listed. This is to cover a possible surge when the converter and appliance are first plugged in, and protects both the electronic and the converter.
Speaking of protecting your appliances, a worthwhile investment is a voltage converter with a built-in voltage stabilizer that maintains the output levels, even if the input levels suddenly fluctuate, which can happen in some regions. Regardless of whether or not you need a voltage converter or what kind, you will most definitely want to invest in a foreign plug adapter. Different countries have different electrical outlets, so even if you have a device that is dual voltage, or can operate around both the 110 and 220 volt range, it may not have the correct plug to be able to operate.