As you pack for that winter skiing trip in the Swiss Alps or Australian summer vacation, you may throw your hair drier, laptop, or cell phone charger absentmindedly into your bag. Not so fast: though North America, much of South America, the Caribbean, and Japan use 100-125 volt appliances, most of the world does not. Keep in mind that packing your appliances for travel abroad requires a little extra planning:
Buy a converter: Your first step to international appliance use is to purchase a small converter, which will allow your American appliances to run on 220-volt currents. Take note that some newer, high-end appliances are designed to work on both 110 and 220-volt systems, and that a converter will not be necessary in these cases.
Buy and adapter plug: Even if your destination uses 110-volt currents, you may still need to purchase an adapter plug. This will make your three-pronged American appliance plug compatible with that of your destination’s.
Once you’ve purchased a converter and adapter, you should be ready to use any appliance abroad. Make sure to purchase well-made products, though, as cheap ones have a tendency to break. Adapter plugs should cost about $15-$20, and converter prices will vary.