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110 vs. 220
Being plugged in nowadays is just as important as eating and sleeping. Your laptop, iPhone, camera charger etc., are all part of what makes your travels run smooth and you will notice once you arrive in Europe that the wall sockets are very different to America. It also runs on 220 volts while American appliances are used to running on 110. That’s a big difference, twice the voltage. In order for your electronics to survive this voltage and not fry (like my iron did many years ago) you will need a converter which converts the power from 110 to 220. (A transformer is also a converter but much larger and more capable higher wattage, things like televisions, vacuum cleaners, mixers etc., generally for people that are moving to Europe and are taking larger American appliances).
You will also need an adaptor plug which works with the converter that adapts the U.S. plug to match the European socket. To complicate matters, not all countries have the same plugs, for example, Britain has 3 prongs, and Germany has two round prongs. But never fear they are cheap and easy to come by, most hardware stores or online travel sites sell kits. You can travel smart by getting yourself a Converter/Adaptor kit and you will be good to go, no matter what country you are in.
Some appliances don’t need converters. My Canon battery charger, for example, handles any voltage from 100 to 240 at 50/60 Hz. A plug adaptor was all I needed. I also have a U.S. dual voltage hair dryer that I used everywhere when we lived in Germany, just flip the switch from 110 to 220 and you will only need an adaptor (make sure it handles about 2000w too). Dual voltage hair dryers, curling irons and straighteners can be bought at department stores and online. Check your other electronics too, some laptops can handle up to 240 volts and only need an adaptor. My last trip to Europe, I didn’t even need a converter as all my electronic devices were either dual voltage or ran on – up to 240 volts.
To buy adaptors and converters, I like this website: www.pakinglight.net