What to look for while purchasing a universal adapter?

Packing your bags for an overseas trip? Don't forget to carry your universal adapter with you

What to look for while purchasing a universal adapter?

Perhaps the most exciting part about an upcoming trip is the planning and the days that lead up to it. Shopping for new gear, dusting an old bag and doing an Instagram countdown to your flight date — sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Of course, if this is a domestic trip, you’re probably already sure of what to carry in your cabin and check-in luggage, but be it an international one, there’s always the added stress of forgetting something important. 

Packing your electronics right often makes up for a huge part of your luggage. What device can you stash away in your bag? What will need to be presented at the security check? And, yes, if you need a universal adapter for your gadgets. 

What a travel adapter is and how it helps

A universal adapter, also popularly referred to as a travel adapter, is essentially a converter that can make a charger compatible with other country standards. More often than not, countries across the world follow different power socket ratings. For instance, power sockets in India have an output voltage of 230V AC, whereas in the USA, it is 110V AC. This would typically mean your smartphone charger would be rendered useless in the USA, and vice versa.

ALSO READ: 5 gadgets I carried on my trip as a solo female traveller, and here’s why you should too

Universal adapters today are generally suited for devices up to 250W and are compatible with devices such as smartphones, laptops and cameras. They ensure power conditioning, which is important for the compatibility of your gadget with the output voltage requirement, no matter the country you visit.

What should you look for while investing in a travel adapter?

If you’re confused about picking the best travel adapter for yourself, we have a few pointers that could help you make a better buying decision. 

Pin type: A European plug socket typically uses a type C pin while a US plug type will typically be a type A. However, this may not be standard across all regions; for instance, Malta and Cyprus use type G plugs. Looking for a plug that includes a variety of plug sockets can be a good starting point to begin looking. 

Number of USB ports: While you can carry multiple travel adapters, it is always a good idea to have one that comes with USB ports for connectivity. Often times it is difficult to tell the number of plug sockets your room or AirBnB could have. To tackle situations like these, having an adapter with more than one USB port could make this process less cumbersome. 

ALSO READ: Here’s how ChatGPT helped me plan a vacation to Japan

Universal or travel adapter: Although both these terms are used interchangeably, a universal adapter usually includes all types of plug sockets. It may also give you more than one USB port to connect your appliances. However, bear in mind that this is usually priced higher and is a tad bulkier to carry, so it’s best to look for a compact design if you’re thinking of travelling light.  

Durability and build: When dealing with electronics, or better yet, unfamiliar regions, it is best to be sure that the product you’re using is durable. Check if the universal or travel adapter you’re planning to buy is made using high-quality materials. 

Apart from that, you may also want to take note if it has additional features to protect your appliances from any power surges or voltage fluctuation. A good thumb rule is to ensure the universal adapter comes certified by relevant safety standards, for instance, CE (Europe) or FCC (USA), to be rest assured on your trip. 

Compatibility with your appliance: Last, but perhaps most important, check if your appliances are compatible with your travel adapter before you end up investing in one. For gadgets that function on high power, such as hair dryers, trimmers or shavers, having a universal adapter that can handle the required wattage is of utmost importance. Because, let’s face it, no one likes to be ‘shocked’ on their vacation! 

Once you’re done ticking these tips off your checklist, you’re pretty much good to go. With the right travel adapter, you can be rest assured that you will remain connected on all your bucket-list adventures. 

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