From jet lag to culture shock, international travel comes with some challenges. If you fail to pack a travel adapter or two in your luggage, you will be facing a whole different challenge when it’s time to use or charge the vital electronic devices you brought along for the trip. Thankfully, travel adapters are an affordable way to utilize your electronics when traveling internationally.
Why buy a travel adapter?
Many people don’t realize that there are over 12 types of electrical sockets used around the world. If you’re traveling internationally, it’s a good idea to find out what type of sockets you will be using so that you can purchase travel adapters that will allow you to use and charge your electronics. Some travel adapters (that feature voltage conversion) can even protect you and your devices when you’re utilizing sockets that provide higher voltages than your devices are designed for.
What should you look for in a travel adapter?
- Compatibility: There are three primary types of travel adapters: single-region adapters, multi-region adapters, and universal adapters. Single-region adapters are by far the most affordable but also the least flexible option as they are designed for a single application. Multi-region adapters offer much more flexibility, as they provide a wide range of popular plug and socket standards. Universal adapters offer the most flexibility and can be used pretty much anywhere. However, this flexibility usually comes at a cost, both in terms of your investment and the adapter’s extra bulk.
- Features: Look for a travel adapter that features USB or USB-C ports so that you can charge some devices while leaving the adapter’s AC outlet open. If you’re traveling with non-single-voltage devices, consider investing in a travel adapter that features voltage conversion. Finally, don’t forget to read up on an adapter’s safety features and specs to ensure it can safely accommodate your electronic devices.
- Durability: Let’s face it: it’s easy to damage things when you’re traveling. For this reason, a travel adapter’s durability and build quality should not be overlooked. Be sure to read reviews to see how others have fared when traveling with the adapter you are considering. Some travel adapters even come with rugged cases that protect them from taking damage when in transit to your destination.
Do you need a travel adapter or a voltage converter?
If the devices that you will be using with your travel adapter all have dual or variable-voltage capabilities, purchasing a basic travel adapter will allow you to use all of your devices on your trip. This is also true if you are traveling to a country with a similar voltage standard as your home. However, if you’re bringing devices that require a specific voltage different than the standard of the country you’re visiting, it’s a good idea to purchase a voltage converter. Thankfully, these usually sport similar basic functionality as travel adapters and often include USB ports to quickly charge your devices on the go.
EPICKA Universal Travel Adapter
This travel adapter's durable build quality and wide compatibility make it a solid choice.
Pros: The durable EPICKA Universal Travel Adapter works in over 150 countries and is rugged enough to bring along on a number of international journeys before it shows any signs of wear and tear. This travel adapter also sports four USB ports and a USB-C port for good measure, so you can charge multiple devices while utilizing the adapter’s AC socket for something else. Factor in this adapter’s stellar surge protection and other nifty safety features, and you can see why it’s our top pick.
Cons: Despite this product’s name, it doesn’t include Type D, Type M, or Type H adapters, so it’s not a good choice for those traveling to South Africa, Israel, or a handful of other countries. Also, if you’re looking for a travel adapter that can be used with high-power accessories such as your blow dryer, this is not the product for you.
Bottom Line: If you’re seeking a rugged travel adapter that can be used (almost) anywhere, this is a product to consider. It even comes with a built-in spare fuse so that it can still be used if you are unlucky enough to plug the wrong device into it. That’s what we call convenient.
MINGTONG Travel Adapter
This affordable travel adapter scores points for its compact design and dual USB ports.
Pros: Traveling is expensive enough as it is. If you’re looking to save some cash when buying a travel adapter, this option from MINGTONG stands out. It features two USB ports and built-in fuse protection to complement its budget-friendly price tag, and it’s one of the more compact options featured here. Its LED power indicator is an underrated feature that may help eliminate some guesswork when troubleshooting a faulty outlet.
Cons: Some reviewers have noted that this adapter isn’t compatible with some (but not all) of the recessed sockets that one will see quite a bit while exploring Europe. If you’re about to set off on a European vacation, be sure to read some reviews in order to determine if this product is an ideal choice for you.
Bottom Line: Those seeking a basic travel adapter for their international travels will find a lot to love by choosing this budget-friendly product. While this isn’t a good adapter for running high-power accessories, its compact design and dual USB ports make it a convenient option for frequent travelers.
BESTEK Universal Travel Adapter
This option sports plenty of USB ports and AC outlets, so that you can charge up to seven devices at once.
Pros: While most devices made these days are designed with dual-voltage functionality, some will require a handy device like the BESTEK Universal Travel Adapter in order to be used internationally. However, this product ups the ante with four USB ports and three AC outlets so that you can charge up to seven devices at once if the need arises. This product also comes with three international adapters (AU, UK, US), ensuring it will work in most countries around the globe.
Cons: The voltage converter is definitely a bit bulkier than your average travel adapter, so those seeking something compact and sleek may be disappointed. It’s also fairly pricey, so those who don’t typically travel with single-voltage devices can save some money by opting for a traditional travel adapter over this voltage converter.
Bottom Line: Although this product isn’t necessary for everyone, those who like traveling with their single-voltage hair trimmer will find this voltage converter to be a reliable cure for the single-voltage blues. It’s also amazingly convenient, thanks to its ample charging capacity, making it a great choice for families that tend to charge a bunch of different devices at once.
EASE2U E International Adapter
This compact travel adapter allows you to use some demanding dual-voltage electronics, like hair dryers.
Pros: Not every travel adapter is made to handle high power, dual-voltage electronics such as hair dryers or curling irons, but the EASE2U E International Adapter performs admirably so that you can use your most demanding devices while traveling. As a cherry on top, it also sports fast-charging USB ports and a USB-C port, as well as a surprisingly durable build quality despite its compact size and budget-friendly price.
Cons: While this product has a great track record for supporting pretty demanding dual-voltage devices, it won’t be compatible with every hair dryer, hair straightener, or curling iron you can throw at it. To avoid a blown fuse (or a hair emergency), be sure to closely go over your device’s specs to make sure this little adapter is up to the task.
Bottom Line: Although this travel adapter won’t perform miracles (you can probably leave your coffee maker at home), it’ll provide a lot of value for those who travel with dual-voltage beauty products that aren’t supported by other adapters. Also, don’t forget to pack a USB-C cable to utilize this adapter’s lightning-fast charging capabilities.
Apple World Travel Adapter Kit
These individual travel adapters are designed to work with a variety of Apple power adapters.
Pros: If you travel with multiple Apple devices, you probably don’t mind spending a little extra on quality products. The Apple World Travel Adapter Kit has quality to spare and is designed to play nice with iPhones, iPads, Apple MagSafe Power Adapters, AirPort Express, and Apple Portable Power Adapters. Apple opted for separate adapters instead of the all-in-one solution prioritized by most travel adapters, so you can bring along only the adapters you need instead of packing a bulky adapter brick along with your luggage.
Cons: While the individual adapters will be convenient for those going to a single country or region, those on a world tour may find it overly cumbersome to pack multiple adapters for a single trip. It’s also worth noting that this product is a bit pricier than your average travel adapter.
Bottom Line: Although this isn’t the most versatile option on the market, these travel Adapters will appeal to those who have fully bought into Apple devices. Also, like with other Apple accessories, the elevated price tag corresponds with an attention to detail and build quality that is hard to beat, making this product a solid choice for Apple users.
Don’t let funky-looking AC outlets keep you from charging and using your electronic devices while traveling internationally. That being said, be sure to do your research before you buy a travel adapter. This will ensure that you find the right adapter for your travel plans and devices.