What Travel Adapters Should People Use?



When thinking about travelling abroad, different currencies are not the only thing people need to worry about. Whether or not travellers will be able to use their electrical appliances and gadgets is another story. As each country has different plug shapes and electricity voltages, an appliance working well in one country maynot withstand the varied voltage output of another country. So, in this article, we break down the types of travel adapters people should be aware of, and where to buy them.

Common types of travel adapters

When it comes to travelling to another country or region, there are plenty of options to choose from when selecting a travel adapter. People should ensure that not only does the plug type fit the outlet shape of the wall, but the voltage is also suitable for all their electronic devices. Some of the most common types of travel adapters include single-region adapters, multi-region adapters, universal travel adapters, transformers, voltageconverters, and USB adapters.

Single-region travel adapters

Single-region travel adapters are the most straightforward option. As well as particular countries and regions, these models can also be used in countries which all use the same sockets and voltages. However, although these models are typically the cheapest option for buyers, it is worth keeping in mind that picking a single-region travel adapter may limit future flexibility.

Variations on single-region travel adapters include multi-way models (featuring the ability to plug in multiple devices at the same time), and the option to pair a one-way single-region adapter with a multi-socket extension lead for multiple devices for increased demand.

Multi-region travel adapters

For greater versatility, travellers can instead opt for a multi-country or region plug adapter. These are typically slightly larger or more complex units, with different pins for different sockets. Essentially, they are designed to accommodate several national standards of plug and socket arrangements all at once.

The most common type of multi-region travel adapters tends to handle a combination of European, Asia, UK, and North American standards. Again, multi-region versions can either be single-way or multi-way depending on the traveller’s requirements.

Universal travel adapters

Universal travel adapters are typically the most flexible option as they are suitable for use in the majority of countries around the world. However, it is worth noting that this flexibility comes with increased size, especially compared to the smaller single or multi-region models.

The added functionality offered by the best universal travel adapter can be a real bonus, but their size can make them less convenient and tricky to carry around. Additionally, some less stable socket types (such as the US two-pin) can make the universal travel adapter feel less securely attached to the socket due to its added weight. Moreover, the larger the universal travel adapter, the higher the chance it will block neighbouring sockets or not fit certain layouts.


A transformer is similar to a voltage converter, but it also changes the frequency of the electrical supply to match the frequency a device requires. This is a piece of essential equipment if there is a difference in frequency between the country a person is visiting and their home country. However, transformers tend to be more expensive than voltage converters, and they may not be necessary for all devices.

Voltage converters

A voltage converter is a device that converts the voltage of the electrical supply to match the voltage required by the device. It is essential If there is a difference in voltage between the country a traveller is visiting and their home country. Voltage converters are available in many different wattage ratings, so travellers should pick one that is suitable for their device’s power ratings.

USB adapters

USB adapters are small devices that plug into an electrical outlet and provide one or more USB ports for charging devices. This includes devices such as smartphones, tablets, power banks, and cameras, to name a few. USB adapters may also include plug adapters or voltage conversion capabilities, which can allow travellers to use them in different countries.

Do I need a travel adapter?

If a person is travelling away from their home country or region of the world then chances are that yes, they likely do need a travel adapter. This is because power outlets have different shapes in different parts of the world. As such, travellers may need an adapter to convert the shape of their home power plugs to the shape of the outlets in the region of the world they are travelling to.

Where to buy travel adapters

Travel shops – including some online travel shops – department stores, cheap knick-knack shops, manufacturers, and certain providers such as RS Components are great places to pick up power point converters and travel adapters. They are also available in shops in airport departure lounges but do keep in mind that they can be alittle pricier there. As such, it is best to buy an adapter before travelling abroad.

Bottom line

Before travelling, travellers should make sure to research the specific plug type used in their destination country and choose a travel adapter that is compatible with that type. If they are planning to visit multiple countries with different plug configurations, consider using a universal travel adapter that can accommodate various types of plugs instead.