I remember in my early days traveling the world, the concept of what kind of plug adapter to use wasn’t one that I’d thought about very much. I don’t think we took one electronic device with us on our first trip. I had a book — you know, the kind made of paper — a journal (also made of paper), and a Pentex K1000 camera (completely mechanical). At times I think that was better than the way we travel now, with gizmos galore. I mean, a tablet, laptop, GoPro, two phones, etc. — all so we can stay connected. We even broke down and rented the incredibly slow WiFi on Virgin Gorda, and we mean dial-up slow.
We know we aren’t the only ones wired to life, and the choice of what kind of plug and/or what kind of adapter to get for which destination can be confusing. I currently have an all-in-one, but figuring out what goes where can still be difficult.
The descriptions from major travel information sites like Frommers make suggestions like this for travelers going to Greece:
“Electricity — Electric current in Greece is 220 volts AC, alternating at 50 cycles. (Some larger hotels have 110-volt low-wattage outlets for electric shavers, but they aren’t good for hair dryers and most other appliances.) Electrical outlets require Continental-type plugs with two round prongs. U.S. travelers will most likely need an adapter plug and a transformer/converter. Laptop computer users will want to check their requirements; a transformer may be necessary, and surge protectors are recommended. But increasingly various appliances — including laptops and hair dryers — allow for a simple switch to the 220 volts.”
I work with electricity all the time, yet this is confusing for me. The terms aren’t even explained. What’s a continental-type plug? I can tell you that a 220 plug (like your washer or dryer has) is two parallel 110 circuits and would fry any other electronic device. That’s why those major appliances have special plugs.
We’ve always managed to muddle through, but I stumbled across WhatPlug.info the other day and was blown away at the simple concept.
The name says it all. You go to this simple site and choose your home country, and then where you’re going. You get a page with — get this — pictures! Holy Crap!
Pictures of what the heck a continental plug is, or any other kind of strange plugging device. It even tells you what kind of adapter you’d need. This person should get a Nobel Prize for his or her contribution to the traveling community. When you tell the site you’re traveling to Greece you get this:
I mean, really. Genius. Hit this site before you hit the road and you’ll be ready to keep everything safely charged.