Are you planning an international trip soon? If so, you’ll need to consider how to get power for your electronics. A standard power outlet won’t be available in most hotels and other locations you stay at while traveling abroad.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to check the availability of an extension cord before finalizing your travel plans. An extension cord allows you to use appliances without needing to locate a wall socket.
With the correct extension cord, you can use your devices almost anywhere you go while on vacation. Different extension cords are suited for different situations, but most people only have one or two flat extension cords in their homes.
When traveling overseas, however, the availability of an extension cord comes in handy more than you might think. Here is everything you need to know about choosing the best extension cord for international travel.
1. Plug type
The plug type is the first thing to consider when shopping for an extension cord for international travel. If you don’t know what this means, the plug is the part of the extension cord that goes into the wall socket.
There are a few different plugs worldwide, the most common being the standard two-pronged American plug. Another popular plug type is the three-pronged grounded European plug, which is the plug that you would find in most of the countries in Western and Northern Europe.
When purchasing an extension cord, ensure it has the correct plug type for your travel destination. This ensures you won’t need to purchase an additional adapter to use the extension cord.
You may also come across plugs that look like the standard American plug but have a round grounding pin rather than a square one. If you happen to run across this plug style, you can use the same extension cord you would use in the U.S.
2. Consider the length of the extension cord
When purchasing an extension cord for travel, you’ll also want to think about the length of the extension cord. There are extension cords of every length, so you can choose the exact length that best suits your needs.
If you are staying in a hostel or other shared accommodations, you’ll want to ensure an extension cord is long enough to reach from one side of the room to the other. This allows you to use your devices over a wider area without moving the plug as often. However, the extension cord’s length becomes less important if you stay in a private apartment or hotel.
It’s worth noting that the longer the extension cord, the more voltage drop you experience. Therefore, if you travel to a country with a different voltage than your home country, you may want to buy a shorter extension cord. Keep in mind that the length of the extension cord impacts the voltage you receive.
If you use a long extension cord, you only get as much power as the wall socket you plug it into can provide. Short extension cords allow more voltage to flow to the device being powered.
3. Check the power rating
The power rating of the extension cord indicates how much power it can safely pass through to your devices. It’s essential to match the average voltage of your wall socket with the correct power rating. In the U.S, the standard wall voltage is 110-120 volts.
However, if you plan on traveling to Europe or another region with a different voltage, you must choose the appropriate power rating for your extension cord. In general, you can use a power cord from one region in another as long as the voltage is the same. Power ratings are less flexible, however.
In most cases, you must choose an extension cord with the same voltage rating as the wall socket you plug into. Otherwise, the power will not be adequately transmitted and may cause damage to your devices.
The power rating of the extension cord is listed on the packaging, but it’s also worth checking online to see which extension cords are recommended for travel.
4. Consider the thickness of the cord
You might not think of the thickness of the cord when choosing an extension cord, but it is something you should consider. Thicker extension cords are better at handling high amounts of power, while thinner cords are better at transferring small amounts of power to portable devices.
If you power a large appliance like a hair dryer or curling iron, you generally use a thicker extension cord. A thick extension cord is ideal for travelers heading to a country with a different voltage than their home country.
However, thicker extension cords are also heavier and bulkier. Therefore, if you are staying in a small space like a hostel, you may want to purchase a thinner extension cord. A thinner cord is sufficient if you only plug in smaller appliances such as a smartphone or computer.
5. Read guidelines on extensions cords in your destination country
Before purchasing an extension cord, it is essential to read the guidelines on using extension cords in your destination country. Each country has its regulations regarding the use of extension cords.
Using an extension cord without a surge protector is illegal in some regions. Furthermore, voltage regulations are different in every country. For example, the average voltage in North America is 110 volts, while the average voltage in Europe is 220 volts.
Therefore, you could seriously damage your devices if you don’t use a surge protector when traveling to Europe.
6. Consider the number of devices you will be carrying
Finally, you want to consider the number of devices you carry when deciding on the best extension cord for international travel. If you plan to charge multiple devices simultaneously, you likely want to buy a thicker extension cord.
This help minimizes voltage drop so that all your devices charge quickly. If you only plan to charge one device at a time, the extension cord’s thickness becomes less critical. Therefore, a thinner extension cord may be a better option.
The more devices you plan on plugging in at one time, the longer the extension cord you should use. If you want to power several devices simultaneously, you should get an extension cord at least as long as the distance between the wall socket and the furthest device you will plug in.
If you only are plugging one device into the extension cord at a time, you can get away with using a shorter extension cord. This saves you money and gives you more flexibility when placing the extension cord.
An extension cord can be an invaluable item for any traveler. It allows you to use appliances no matter where you are staying. It also allows you to use devices without needing to be near a wall socket. It comes in handy when staying in hotels or other accommodations that don’t have wall sockets near where you will be. Before purchasing an extension cord, you must consider the plug type, length, power rating, thickness, and voltage regulations in your destination country. It helps you to find the best extension cord for international travel.