What’s the Difference Between a Travel Charger and Adapter

BY Travel Writer

Travel Adapters vs Converters

Most of the time, you will need adapter plugs when traveling however in some cases, you may need a voltage converter.

Travel Tips

 – Pack travel adapters and phone charges in your carry-on luggage. If your suitcase is lost, you will still be able to charge your cell phone & camera.

Surprisingly, adapters are difficult to find in other countries. We recommend purchasing an adapter kit before traveling, in order to keep your electronics charged and ready for action! Research which adapters you may need prior to your trip, so you have time to purchase the right one.

 – Bring an external battery for your phone in your carry-on luggage as well.

If you’re not sure what you need, read on for a better understanding.

Electrical Appliances work at:

>110/120 volts = USA/Canada

>220/240 volts = Vast Majority of the Rest of the World

Converters change the voltage from one level to another, usually from 220/240V to 110/120V. If your device only operates at 110/120 volts (American devices) you will need a converter to step down (or convert) the power supply in your destination country for it to work safely. Your device must be plugged into a converter to change the voltage to avoid overheating or frying. For example, if you are traveling to France from the USA, your American hair dryer will need a converter to step down the power voltage in France from 220/240V to 110/120V, for the appliance to work

Converters should only be used with electric appliances, such as hair dryers, irons, small fans, or any appliance that has a mechanical motor. If the appliance is electronic, which contains a computer chip, a converter is usually not required.

Many new gadgets are designed to work at both 110 volts and 240 volts. Most devices that are intended for travel, devices such as laptops, cameras, cell phone chargers, and other battery chargers usually do not require a converter. Look for an indications panel on your electronics to verify what power level is compatible.

We recommend checking the label, owner’s manual, or contacting the manufacturer to be certain! 

Is My Device Dual Voltage? 

If the electrical appliance has a dual voltage (which means it can run on 110/120 volts or 220/240 volts), make sure the switch is on the correct voltage pertaining to your location.

Some electrical items are made to operate at one voltage only

Dual Voltage appliances will say 110-220 VAC, or INPUT AC120/240V 50-60Hz 1300W

Single Voltage appliances will say 110 VAC. 120 VAC or INPUT AC120Vac 60Hz 200W

Note: If your appliance is dual voltage, you do NOT have to worry about a converter. All you need is a plug adapter for the country you will be visiting.


Wattage is the amount of power required to operate an electrical appliance or device. You need to know the wattage of the device in order to get the right converter. You want a converter that can handle the wattage required by appliance plus about 25% more just to be sure. So read the specifications.

Most devices have a label showing the wattage. If the wattage is not listed on the label, the voltage and amperage are usually listed and can be used to figure out the wattage using a simple formula.

Multiply the voltage by the amperage (amps or A) to calculate the wattage. Example: An appliance labeled with a voltage of 110 and amperage of 1.5 is 165 watts (110 x 1.5 = 165 Watts)

Please Note: Converters are NOT meant for long time use. Converters are meant to change the electrical voltage for small electrical items, (such as hair dryers, irons, etc) for travelers for a short amount of time. We recommend no longer than 30 minutes.


Adapters are simply connectors that change the plug shape to match the electrical outlet.

Adapters allow a dual-voltage appliance or a converter from one country to be plugged into the wall outlet of another country.

There are many different wall outlet shapes and configurations, depending on the country. Even if two countries operate on the same voltage, their electrical outlets might have a different shape plug. Adapters will allow you to interchange the plugs, depending upon the outlets in various countries; however, they do NOT change the electrical voltage.

Adapters allow you to use your device by connecting pieces of equipment that cannot be directly connected to the standard plug.

We highly suggest taking a variety of adapters when traveling because of how many different shaped plugs there are! An adapter kit does not take up much room & it can be frustrating to be in need of a phone or camera charge but have no way of doing it.

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