Transform and adapt
In the not-too-distant past, taking things like travel irons, hair dryers, electric razors -- and more recently, cell phones – when traveling to a country outside North America required, at a minimum, carrying adapters so you could plug in your appliances at your destination. If the electricity voltage at your destination was outside the narrow range of the 110/120 volt, 60-cycle current that is the standard in the U.S. and Canada, you’d also need to purchase and carry voltage transformers.
|Voltage converter and adapters |
Photo courtesy Bombay Electronics
Today, even more modestly priced hotels provide hair dryers and irons for their guests, so there’s no longer a need to pack those items. Other small electronics, like the ShaveTech electric razor that TheTravelPro reviewed, are easily packed and can be charged using the USB port of one’s laptop computer.
Current technology has, in most cases, rendered voltage transformers unnecessary. The “power blocks” or chargers for the computers, tablets, cell phones and other electronic devices can handle much broader voltage ranges than older electrical equipment. For example, the power block for my laptop, the AC/USB plugs for my tablet and cell phone, and the chargers for my cameras’ batteries can accommodate “input” voltage ranging from 100 to 240 volts, and from 50-60 Hz (hertz, or cycles per second), meaning they can be used virtually anywhere in the world that has electricity.
at lower left
If you plan to carry adapter plugs just to keep your options open, even they have become more convenient. Computer accessory company Kensington offers international travel plug adapters with and without USB ports. These all-in-one devices can replace the multiple adapters travelers had to carry previously. Finally, adapter plugs are now available in the luggage section of any decent department store; many discount outlets like Ross, Marshall’s and T.J. Maxx; travel agencies and many AAA offices. No longer are they specialty items.
Lightening our load
|Mobile hot spot|
So, while our luggage may not be the least bit lighter, at least we no longer have to worry about plugging a 110/120-volt appliance into a 220/240-volt outlet and frying the device – and maybe ourselves in the process. Progress can indeed be a wonderful thing.
Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.
Photos by Carl Dombek unless otherwise noted
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