On a recent trip to New Zealand, I brought my digital camera and an outlet adapter to charge its batteries. My B&B’s host saw my setup and chastised me for not bringing a voltage converter, saying New Zealand’s 220 voltage would fry my camera (the U.S. uses 110 volts). During my stay he let me borrow his 10-pound beast of a voltage converter.
Upon leaving, I rationed my battery power until it ran out and finally decided to plug in my charger with its own plug adapter. It charged perfectly—no sparks, no melted batteries.
Doing some further investigation, I found I’m not alone in being confused about voltage conversion and travel with major electronics. As it turns out, most electronic devices sold in the U.S. that use power chargers have a built-in dual-voltage compatible charger that accepts both 110 and 220 volts.
Since most of the world uses either 110 volts (U.S., Canada, Caribbean) or 220 volts (Europe, Australia, New Zealand) or both, you don’t need any extra equipment other than a plug adapter. Just check your equipment and make sure it’s labeled for both 110 and 220 volts. If it’s exclusively 110 volts, or you’re using a simpler device without a charger, such as a hair dryer, you’ll need a voltage converter. You can purchase universal outlet adapters ($24) and simple voltage converters ($40) on Amazon.com.
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