Adapters and Converters

Nearly all modern electronics are dual voltage — as long as you have some adapters on hand, you’re all set.

There are many different types of electrical system. They differ on the voltage of the current and the shape of the plug.

American appliances run on 110 volts, while European appliances are 220 volts. Most gadgets are “dual voltage,” which means they work on both American and European current. If you see a range of voltages printed on the item or its plug (such as “110–220”), you’re OK in Europe. Some older appliances have a voltage switch marked 110 (US) and 220 (Europe) — switch it to 220 as you pack.

Adapters are inexpensive — bring a handful. Secure your adapter to your device’s plug with electrical or duct tape; otherwise it can easily get left behind in the outlet (hotels and B&Bs sometimes have a box of abandoned adapters — ask). Many sockets are recessed into the wall; your adapter should be small enough so that the prongs seat properly in the socket. (Although you can get universal adapters that work worldwide, these tend to be large, heavy, and more expensive.)

Although sockets differ from country to country, most Continental adapters work just fine. If, for some reason, your adapter doesn’t work in your hotel, just ask for assistance; hotels with unusual sockets will invariably have the right adapter to loan you.