Choosing The Correct Travel Adaptor

The humble travel adaptor may fit firmly in the category of “traveller’s afterthought” to many people. After all, a travel adaptor is not exactly up there with the new wardrobe of clothes you splashed out on for your big trip abroad. It’s not the books you got hold of for some quality relaxing reading time on the journey or at the destination either.

But, nor is it any good if you unpack your things to find you don’t have one, particularly if it’s a travel adaptor that stands between you and Angry Birds world domination in the next couple of weeks. We live in a world where, like it or not, battery rechargeable technology is at our fingertips at any point, night or day. And with that comes the need to charge things up, frequently.

That’s why the travel adaptor needs your consideration for any trip abroad you might be planning.

A visit to foreign climes often brings with it a checklist of must-haves, from sun cream to mosquito repellent, but without a travel adaptor you might find yourself more restricted than you’d want.

If you don’t use a smartphone or iPad, for example, and assume this doesn’t apply to you, think again. What about if you don’t bother lugging books around on your travels these days, instead preferring to use a Kindle? If this is the case, you’ll need a travel adaptor.

As well as a travel adaptor being the perfect (and indeed only) way of keeping your portable entertainment gadget of choice in battery charge for the length of your stay, there are other uses you need to consider. This might occur to you when you’re stood in front of the mirror on your first evening trying to get your plug-in electric shaver to work.

The fact is that while technological advancements the world over have made travelling many times more convenient in recent years, electrical systems can still vary from country to country.

Here comes the science part:
Most westernised nations use an electrical system operating at 110-120 volts, while almost every other country uses 220 to 240 volts as standard. All of which leads to lots of technical-sounding problems involving cycles per second, Hz, AC/DC and Motorhead. OK, maybe not that last one.

There are many types of travel adaptor on the market, and you need to work out which is best for you. If you’re a frequent traveller, and one visiting many different countries, you best bet is undoubtedly a world travel adaptor. With one of these in tow, you can reasonably assume that wherever you wind up on this world, it’ll see you right for a charge-up.

Others are good for the UK (which uses a different system than mainland Europe) and the EU. Some even have nifty little add-ons like dual USB chargers
enabling you to charge two things at once.

As always, travelling is about preparation. Work out what you need depending on your situation to pick up the best, most cost-effective travel adaptor for you.

First-hand experience has taught me how overwhelming it can be to plan for a trip and often it’s the little things that can contribute to a stressful situation.

What You Need to Know About Using Travel Adaptors in Australia

Every traveler should know that plugs with parallel flat prongs are required for outlets in North and South America while those with round pins and a grounding prong are perfect for Europe and other countries. But for travelers to Australia, this rule of thumb doesn’t apply so efficiently. Basically, travel adaptors in Australia aren’t as interchangeable or adaptable as they were with the rest of the world because of their unique V-shaped prongs. The grounded version has the same vee formation of the main prongs with a third one below in a vertical position.

Type I Electrical Sockets in the Commonwealth

Specifically, most power outlets in Australia are the AS-3112 type with a grounding prong. It looks so much like the standard outlets for the Chinese CPCS-CCC and the Argentine IRAM. Moreover, the outlets produce around 220 to 240 volts of electricity on average. Any appliance that runs on this voltage input or anything that’s compatible with multiple electrical inputs only needs a travel adaptor. Otherwise, travelers would need an additional transformer or power converter for North American devices and appliances that usually run on 110 to 120 volts only.

Devices with 100 to 240 Volts Input/Output Capacity

Most laptops, cellphone chargers, digital cameras, and PDAs can switch automatically from low to high voltage or from 50 Hz to 60 Hz, and vice-versa. Travelers only need a travel adapter to recharge these types of equipment in their hotel room. Meanwhile, North American hand-held devices like hairdryers, curling irons, shavers, and flat irons mostly operate on 110 to 120 volts of power. When you know your equipment was bought in the United States or in Canada, you should bring along a transformer to let you use them without short-circuiting them.

Reading the Electrical Info on the Plug

Labels with their electrical info are often seen stuck on the bottom of appliances or on their sides. Information such as 120V 60Hz 2.5A means that the equipment can only be used with a socket that outputs 120 volts. Meanwhile, label info that looks like this: 120/220V 50/60Hz 200W can mean the equipment is compatible with both high and low voltage outputs in different regions. Then, a sign that says 100-240V 50/60Hz 65W is a reassurance that your equipment can be used with any type of socket in any country without fear of destroying the appliance.

Most travel adapters are available as universal types for Australia and New Zealand. They either have retractable prongs or interchangeable heads that fit to various sockets. In truth, grounding pins aren’t necessary at all.