Pluggin In

Watertown Travel Blog

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European 2-Pronged Plug
I am not exactly a minimalist traveler. I have learned to reduce the amount of clothing I take but I seem to make up for that with an increasing array of electronics. This summer I will take the following: a Canon 5D dslr, an iPod Nano, an iPod Video, a Garmin Nuvi 370 GPS, and a Macintosh “13 MacBook.

Each of these has power requirements, so I also travel with several chargers. The big question is: “Will the chargers work?” And the answer is: “It is fairly easy to tell.” First of all, chargers that come with products that are sold internationally (such as most of the ones I’ve listed above) come with “universal” power supplies. This means that no matter where you plug them in, they work. The iPod is designed to charge from the computer, though I bought an external charger since I don’t always travel with a computer.
iPod Nano


To determine if a charger is universal, look for the electrical information label. If you see “Input: 100V �" 240V”, it is. If not, don’t try it!

“What about travel converters?” I am often asked. A travel converter is a device that lets you use devices designed for the US in other parts of the world. I own one and besides being heavy, I have found it to be unreliable. The internal fuse has blown a couple times and I have blown a hotel fuse, as well. If you are set on using something that requires one of these, make sure you check the wattage rating for the converter and the wattage of the device you will plug in to it.  Mine is rated for 50 watts, which means it is designed for the kinds of things I take. If I tried to plug a hair dryer (rated at around 1600 watts) into this device, I’d probably get a fireworks show.
13" Macbook (A great computer!)


One last consideration with electrical devices is the plug.  Most of Europe uses a two pronged plug that that requires an adapter for US plugs. If you do a Google search for this topic, you’ll likely find several resources. Incidentally, most places sell whole kits of plug adapters and these are nice if you travel around the world. But if Europe is your destination, two adapters should do the trick: one for England and one of the rest of western Europe. I have found Magellan's to be a good source for individual adapters.

Magellans.com

Electricity Around the World

Travel Tip: Plugging In At the Hotel
Its one thing to pack the electronic components you think you need but its another thing to plug them in. I have found most European hotels to be somewhat inadequate as far a plug-ins are concerned. Because of this, I travel with a small 3 plug power adapter. This lets me charge my computer and my camera batteries at the same time. Since I am usually only in my hotel room when I am sleeping at night, this comes in handy.
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European 2-Pronged Plug
European 2-Pronged Plug
iPod Nano
iPod Nano
13 Macbook (A great computer!)
13" Macbook (A great computer!)
Watertown
photo by: esterrene