Wanderlust Journey

Wanderlust Journey

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Challenges of Electricity Abroad & International Travel Chargers

July 31st · No Comments

China Electrical SocketWe’re going to head off on our two week trip to China and Taiwan shortly so we’ve started the planning phases of our trip. Number one on that list, as you’d expect for a travel blogger, is how we’ll keep all of our various gadgets and gizmos charged and ready. We all know that the plugs in other nations aren’t shaped the same as ours but that’s not all you have to watch out for.

Plug Shapes

In North America, and parts of Central and South America, we use two parallel prongs. The sockets in the wall, if you check now, will have that and perhaps a third prong. Most other nations have similar setups, two or three prongs, but the shapes and orientation will be different. It can get really complicated so we typically bring along our set of adapters that should cover every major plug type. Even though we’ll only need the ones for China and Taiwan, we keep them together just so we don’t end up losing any adapters.

If you’re going to buy a new one, I suggest getting one that has all the adapters together in one unit. It makes it even harder to lose individual ones since they’ll all be connected. It’s often cheaper too, though that depends on how fancy you get.


Here’s the real tricky part – the United States uses an electrical system that provides 110 volts at the outlet. 220 volts is pretty much standard elsewhere, which means unless you have a converter, the excess juice will burn out your appliance. This is most important for small devices that draw little power, like a hairdryer or electric razor.

Take a look at the device and it should tell you its power needs. I took a peek at my AC Adapter for my laptop and it says INPUT: 100-240V ~2.4A 50-60 Hz. That means it can handle up to 240V at a frequency of 50-60 Hz. For my computer, in China and Taiwan, all I need is an adapter so my two prong plug will fit in an outlet there. The adapter will handle converting it to what my computer can handle.

Incidentally, China uses 220V, 50HZ while Taiwan uses 110V, 50 HZ.

(Photo: kenner116)

Filed Under: Reference