In recent years, it has become easier than ever to stay connected with loved ones while traveling around the world. Smartphones, tablets, video messaging and a multitude of free talk and text apps make international communication often as easy as calling a next-door neighbor.
With all that communication comes a need for knowledge and know-how. After all, the way you charge a phone, computer or tablet in your home country likely will not be the same way you charge it elsewhere.
Voltages and power outlets vary widely from nation to nation, and it is important to research the requirements of your destination before zipping your suitcase.
Appliances such as flat irons and curling irons, too, should be fitted with the right charging equipment to avoid damage.
The electric power frequency is often shown in the number of hertz (cycles per second). Even if voltages are similar, a 60-hertz clock, for instance, may not function properly on 50 hertz current. Hertz is abbreviated as “Hz,” while voltage is shortened to “V” on electronics.
Research your specific destination’s requirements — some areas of a country may not use all types of plugs listed for that country, since there may be regional differences based on the power system in a certain area.
The International Electrotechnical Commission offers a webpage called World Plugs that includes a description of plug types and a list of countries with the type of plug used, as well as voltages and frequencies.
For example, Japan operates on 100 V and 50 to 60 Hz. The United States operates on 120 V and 60 Hz, and Brazil uses 127 or 220 V and 60 Hz. Those countries use different types of plugs, as well.
Buying an adapter plug should clear up most international charging problems, but if your device is rated for a single voltage, such as 110 V, and this is different than the power supply at your destination, such as 220 V, you will need an adapter plug as well as a voltage converter or transformer for an electrical device.
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