One of the most important things to remember when traveling to Europe is that the electrical outlets are different than the ones we have here in the U.S. and many neighbouring countries. The voltage is also different, with 220v used in Europe and 110v used in the U.S.
The good news is, that most newer appliances have dual voltage, meaning that they are able to safely uptake electricity in both U.S. and European systems without being totally destroyed. These units come in one of two forms. Either they have a switch which allows the unit to switch from 110v to 220v and vice versa, or they have a range of acceptable voltage from 110v to 220v.
That being said, the second problem of fitting the unit’s plugs into a wall socket needs to be addressed. Because there’s no feasibly economical way for companies to have all the different types of electrical outlet prongs built into their devices, you will need to purchase an electrical adapter.
Which brings me to the first tangible part of my study abroad experience!
I received it in the mail today. All nice and shiny, it comes with prongs for Europe, Japan, the U.S. and a few others.
One thing I hadn’t remembered was that the Brits, although grouped with the Continent, rather like being different. The outlet used throughout much of continental Europe is the same (with Switzerland producing some slight variations recently). The outlet used in the UK however, has three prong inserts, as opposed to the Continental two.
FYI, I paid about $4 (shipping included) for this cool gadget.