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My family and I are going on a big European trip this summer and I’m getting everything organized. I searched for one of my many international plug adapters but I couldn’t find it. I usually have one in my carry-on bag because it’s great gadget to have even if you’re not going overseas. You may already know why if you read this story: Brilliant travel hack: Why you should pack a European plug adapter even when you’re not traveling to Europe

Plugs and adapters for international travel.If you haven’t, I’ll fill you in: It’s because the power ports on planes can fit a variety of plug types and the U.S. ones tend to get worn down the most, probably because they’re used the most. But the European sockets are usually nice and tight and your plug won’t fall out.

We’ve gone on two road trips to San Diego in the last couple of weeks so I took a bunch of stuff out of my bag that I knew I wouldn’t need. But that’s always risky because that’s how things get lost or misplaced. I’m living proof.

Last summer, I wrote this piece, Traveling internationally? Here’s how to know what plugs and adapters you need, about a handy website that’s been around for ages !and used to be much easier to navigate than it is now!) It asks travelers where they are from and where are they going. Then it shows you exactly which plug you should bring. It’s very handy if you’re not sure which adapter you need, especially if you’re going on a multi-country or multi-continent trip, in which case, I’d suggest getting something like the Apple World Travel Adapter Kit.

But you can avoid that hassle by just bringing the only plug you really need for international travel: a handy universal travel adapter. Although, if you’re just going to continental Europe (not the UK) then it’s easier and cheaper to just bring a small European plug like this.

I always carry a European plug in my bag but when I’m going to multiple countries, I take the bulkier international adapter. With all of the different plugs and chargers we’re all using, it’s great to have one that also has a USB and USB C ports as well like this one.

In addition to a universal adapter, I also bring a travel power strip so I can just use a single plug to plug the strip into the wall and then use the power strip to plug all of my US plugs into. If you’re going on a cruise, be sure get one that is cruise approved; surge protectors are prohibited. You’ll need something without surge protection, like this one. Otherwise, it will probably be confiscated until it’s time to disembark. One last quick tip: My wife likes to travel with a voltage converter like this, specifically for her hair styling tools.


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