Travel Multi-plug Solutions

In some of my previous articles, I mention many of the challenges I have encountered while on my travels and one I have defiantly spoken about it the lack of consistency in the power industry in that there are just so many types of wall sockets.

Whether this is a mobile phone, tablet or camera, you will be confronted with this challenge that more than likely, the plugs you brought with you, will not be compatible with the one in your hotel. So I have put a list together of some of the common plugs used all over the world and where they are commonly used.

 

Design and Distribution:

 

Type Picture Geography Pins / Earthing Current (A) Voltage (V)
A Mainly USA, Canada, Mexico and Japan 2 / No 15 A 100 – 127 V
B Mainly USA, Canada, Mexico and Japan 3 / Yes 15 A 100 – 127 V
C Europe, South America and Asia 2 / No 2.5 A 220 – 240 V
D India 3 / Yes 5 A 220 – 240 V
E France, Belgium, Poland, Slovakia, Czech 2 / Yes 16 A 220 – 240 V
F Majority of Europe & Russia. Does not include UK or Ireland 2 / Yes 16 A 220 – 240 V
G UK, Malta, Ireland, Malaysia and Singapore 3 / Yes 13 A 220 – 240 V
H Israel, The West bank and Gaza Strip 3 / Yes 16 A 220 – 240 V
I Australia, New Zealand, China and Argentina 2 / No

3 / Yes

10 A 220 – 240 V
J Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Rwanda 3 / Yes 10 A 220 – 240 V
K Denmark & Greenland 3 / Yes 16 A 220 – 240 V
L Italy & Chilé 3 / Yes 10 A & 16 A 220 – 240 V
M South Africa 3 / Yes 15 A 220 – 240 V
N Brazil 3 / Yes 10A & 20 A 100 – 240 V
O Thailand 3 / Yes 16 A 220 – 240 V

If you are looking to research a specific country and what their plug specifications are, I found a really great website that has every country in the world listed in it and provides information as to what to expect there. World Standards Link

 

Universal Solutions:

 

From my experience, there are 2 main type of multi plug adapters that are available to travellers to solve the compatibility issues while in a foreign country.

 

1. Solid State Adapter

 

Firstly there is the hard or fixed plug that is an adapter to the existing plug. The advantage of this type of plug is that there are no moving parts so to say, that will wear out over time and this makes a bit more of a solid connection however, the drawback is that it has a number of separate attachments that can make it a bit bulky and cumbersome to travel with. This model has made things a little easier to travel with and keep it all together by including a handy travel case which I loved.

I used this while travelling to London and some of the bulk or amount of attachments was reduced by researching the plugs used at the destination and the ones that are not relevant, were left behind.

 

2.All-in-one Travel Plug

 

I must say from the beginning that I like gadgets that incorporate a number of items into a near compact solution. Many of the electronic charges manufactured today have standard USB cables for them and this plug has 3 different types of USB ports plus a type C port that covers a wide range of different plug requirements.

What I also liked was that the cube had retractable pins and the whole solution is manufactured into a single item, which I prefer to have instead of a number of separate items to travel with. The one downside to this is the sliding mechanism. As can be seen from the photo, the sliding mechanism is activated by the small nodes on the side and this can feel a little fragile at times.

Both types will stand up to the rigours of multiple destination travel but the all-in-one was definitely better if you are looking for a compact solution that can charge multiple devices without the need of another multi plug. If cost however is a primary over-riding consideration, then the solid state adaper is the right choice for you, costing half of what the all-in-one costs.

 

~~Click Here if You Want to Know About Airline Headphone Jacks~~

 

Nugget of Gold:

 

If you are really in a bind, power running low and have only the plug brought with you from home, don’t stress, help is at hand. Most hotel rooms have TV’s in them that are equipped with USB ports for external storage devices to be played on the TV.

Separate the plug and cable from your standard charger and plug the cable into the USB port at the back or side of the TV. While the charging process might take longer than a normal charger would on account of the reduced current capabilities, this will provide a charge that if left overnight, will leave your mobile phone charged and ready to use the following day.

In emergencies and where other options are not available, this is a good solution however when you have access to other solutions, these should be used to reduce the charge time of the device. One of the drawbacks of this type of charging can be that the TV needs to be on for the USB port to have power to charge your mobile device which can be a real hassle if you want to sleep.

There are multiple ways to solve the challenges of the power industry but until such time as the world decides to roll out 1 simple plug design, it will be left to each one of us to solve these issues and to accept that this is the world we live in.

Thanks very much for reading this article and if you have any questions, please leave it in the comments section below and I will be happy to respond.

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16 Responses

  1. Parmi says:

    As an avid traveler, this is quite useful. I remember abroad with a wrong plug – it was an absolute disaster. What made it even worse was that their adapter didn’t support the kind of outlet that I needed. It was a hassle and I ended up paying a hefty price at nearby shop to get an adapter that I wanted. Since then, I’ve always had a universal charger that can be used anywhere. This is ingenious and so effective! 

    • Richard says:

      Hello Parmi,

      Some of the more mainstream hotels will keep a limited number of adapter plugs on hand for guests that can be rented or lent to you with a small deposit, but I have found this more sporadic and unreliable. 

      It is good to read that I have not been the only one who has been ripped off by having to buy a last minute adapter and I for one can be sure not to get caught out by that again.

      Thanks again for your comment.

      Rich

  2. Kuu says:

    You are absolute right Richard, when you are going on holiday it can be very challenging in finding the right type of wall socket plugs. I have had a lot of issues in the past trying to pick the right socket plugs for either my laptop or computer while on holiday. This is because every country has different socket plugs. I am very grateful that you did this post. This way I will know which plug I need to purchase when I am going to that country. Thanks a lot Richard. 

    • Richard says:

      Hello Kuu

      I’m glad you found the article useful. I think this issue resonates with a lot of people regardless of where you are in the world. Thanks for leaving a comment and I look forward to more comments in the future on other articles that interest you.

      Rich

  3. Lynne Huysamen says:

    Yes I remember this problem from all the times I traveled overseas – it was always tricky to charge my things especially since I never thought of buying an international power adaptor! Now I think many things can be charged with a USB connection which is amazing, that was not available for me the last time I traveled internationally which was about 15 years ago. I will most certainly remember to make a plan next time, thanks for these great options. 

    • Richard says:

      Hello Lynne,

      Sometimes I wonder to myself how we as travelers ever survived without USB, WiFi and mobile phones. That world seems like a lost time however this was actually not that long ago. 

      I am glad that you enjoyed the article and look forward to comments on further articles that interest you.

      Safe travels.

      Rich

  4. Strahinja says:

    Wow! Thank you so much – this is very useful. I just remembered when I was in Italy and the plug didn’t match :I I was so bored, because I needed to prepare some presentation for the next day, and my laptop usually drains fast because I use it so much and have different programs opened at the same time. I asked somepeople that stayed in that hotel, also on the reception but they didn’t have any solution, so I had to buy some extension cable.

    That was a lesson for me, so whenever I go somewhere I send the picture of the plug and ask if it matches and if they can help, and I also bring this cable, just in case.

    I wouldn’t mind much if I was on vacation, but when you go for some business, and have no time, that can be a nightmare. I’m more careful now.

    Regards,

    Strahinja 

    • Richard says:

      Hello Strahinja,

      Wow what a practical approach. It has never occurred  to me before to send a photo to the hotel and request a compatibility check. This is a great personal experience that has really surprised me.

      While the emergency hack of plugging the phone into the TV to charge works with smaller devices, this would definitely not work on a Laptop. I have also been in that situation and I can agree with you that not being charged on holiday is not a sow stopped, not having power on a business trip can be a really big issue.

      Thanks for your comment and valued input.

      Rich

  5. Rachel says:

    Wow, I didn’t know there were different plugs around the world. I’m glad I have this article. I can use it for when I go traveling.I guess I never really thought about how different other countries are from each other. It would be difficult to not be prepared before going to a new destination & having to tell people that you are looking for a “plug”. lol. I don’t think that would go over too well. Thanks for the article!

    • Richard says:

      Hello Rachel,

      I can tell you from experience that when I first started traveling, this sort of challenge was not one that I really paid much attention to. I was focused on visas, luggage, foreign exchange and so on…..never did I consider plug compatibility as being a serious issue. 

      What I can say is that something so simple can easily become a serious headache and is one that can be solved with just a little bit of preparation and forethought. 

      Thanks again for your comment and safe travels.

      Rich

  6. Mina Kim says:

    Thanks for creating this post. This is one of the most common problem when traveling especially these days where many of us can’t live without our gadgets. 

    I used to bring different plugs and an adaptor when I travel so, I think having the Solid State Adaptor is definitely a saviour!

    I do appreciate your post and will be checking these items out.

    Thanks and wishing you success.

    • Richard says:

      Hello Mina,

      Thanks very much for adding a personal experience in your comment. It does seem to me that the time before we had so many gadgets is a long time ago but in reality it was not even 10 years ago where many of these problems did not exist. 

      I am glad that I could provide some practical advice when making a choice on how to solve this issue and I look forward to comments from you in the future on articles that you find interesting.

      Thanks again.

      Rich

  7. Hannah IOP says:

    This is such an interesting and helpful post, this is something I have definitely enountered in the past and I have been caught out. I can imagine it would be even more of a problem now a days when everything seems to come with a million cables despite everything supposedly being wireless!

    I must admit I didn’t realise there was quite so many different variations of plugs available.

    I love your addition of a universal solution, I agree that I find handy USB ports the solution to most problems! I have also noticed (at least where I am) that USB ports are starting to get added to plug sockets on the wall, very handy!

    • Richard says:

      Hello Hannah,

      I agree with you that when USB ports become the standard that are globally installed, all our lives will become a whole lot easier and simplified. The millions of cables problem has really been a difficult one for consumers however some manufactures have attempted to combine a number of different type of various into compact solutions.

      Thanks so much for your personal experience and comment.

      Safe travels.

      Rich

  8. Nick says:

    Hi Richard,

    I rarely post comments on the internet, but I couldn’t go without thanking you for this amazing article for which I consider myself lucky to have found it. As a frequent traveler that was one of those annoying problems that I had to deal with almost each and every time.. but not anymore (thanks to you). Now I will have everything in one place with this All-in-one Travel Plug + I must also say that with this article you saved a lot of my time for which I’m really grateful!

    One big THANK YOU,Nick.

    • Richard says:

      Hello Nick,

      Its always great to read comments like yours where a real problems has been defined and practically solved in an article. I am glad that I was able to help you and assist in providing some first hand feedback on the products available.

      Thanks again and safe travels.

      Rich

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