Traveling is fun and a great adventure, but there are also a lot of things you need to think about to prepare for a trip. This is especially true if you’re traveling internationally and if you plan to backpack during your travels. One of the most important things you’ll want to do before taking off on your backpacking trip is to invest in a reliable travel power adapter.
What is a travel adapter and why do you need one?
Travel adapters allow you to plug in your electronics and other devices when your plug does not match the outlets in the locations to which you plan to travel. In order to charge your cell phone, use an electric razor, a curling iron, hair dryers, or a laptop, you’ll likely need a travel adapter—or, more likely, a few. This is because standard plugs in the United States are not the standard in other countries. Most vary from country to country, so if you’re planning an around-the-world trip, you’ll need to take with you several different adapters.
A travel power adapter is a simple investment, but it can mean the difference between a safe, fun, successful trip, and one that leaves you stranded somewhere not knowing where to go or what to do.
How Do You Shop for a Travel Adapter and How Do You Know What You Need?
First and foremost you want to consider your destination. The voltage requirements vary from location to location and that’s going to affect the shape of the outlet. You might even be surprised by the variety of adapters needed for a trip.
Most people expect outlets in Asia to be different than those in Europe, but within Asia each country is different and the same is true for Europe. For instance, if you’re traveling to the UK and several other European destinations, you’ll need several adapters.
There are also adapters and converters, though some are both. Small appliances (think curling iron or flat iron) can be operated with a converter or a transformer. But electronic devices with chips will need a transformer.
It’s also important to think about the wattage of the particular devices you’ll use. Some tend to have a higher wattage than others, so you’ll need to check the adapter you use with a specific device. Device with heating elements tend to have a higher wattage, so make sure you account for this when shopping.
If you’re backpacking, you’ll also need to consider the weight of all these items. Some adapters are heavier than others. Not to mention the more you need the heavier your total baggage will be. The more you can pare down the better when you’re backpacking, but make sure you have at least what you need.
What are the Best Travel Adapters for Backpacking Trips?
We’ve ranked our favorite adapters in the list below:
This adapter comes with two AC plugs, as well as four USP ports. It features plugs and adapters that are suited for more than 150 countries, including the United States, the EU, the UK, China, and Australia. This gives you a ton of flexibility. We love it because it’s lightweight and small, despite its capabilities, so it’s easy to take on long backpacking trips.
We found a few hair styling tools that overloaded the wattage and the surge protector might not work in every country. It’s also not universal, despite it working in many different destinations, so if you’re planning an in-depth multi-location trip, make sure you check your destinations against the comprehensive list.
This adapter works in the United States, the UK, Australia and New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, and throughout Europe. It features built-in surge protectors, so you can operate your computer and other electronic devices without too much concern. It doesn’t work for high wattage appliances with heating elements, so if you plan to style your hair on your backpacking trip you’ll want to pick a different adapter.
It also doesn’t work in some Eastern European countries or South Africa, so carefully consider your destinations before investing in this plug. Overall, it’s a favorite, but you need to plan carefully and consider your travel intentions.
This kit features four USB ports that work in the UK, the United States, Australia, Europe, and more than 150 total countries. It features a surge protector and can be used with iPhones and Android devices. There are multiple plugs in addition to the USB ports, and many people find this adapter is enough for more than one traveler. There’s also an automatic shut-off that will ensure your electronics and other devices turn off if you forget to flip the switch.
This adapter is suitable for hair dryers and electrical appliances but only works for dual voltage appliances. We’ve also found some plugs wouldn’t connect firmly with this adapter.
If you’re traveling to Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and a few other countries this adapter is not going to work for you.
This kit comes with several adapters and is capable of helping you in just about every country in the world. It can handle electrical appliances up to 3000 watts and all of the adapters are stored in a handy travel bag. The adapter kit comes with a lifetime warranty.
As comprehensive as this kit is, it won’t work in South Africa and it’s not all that convenient to be lugging around several adapters if you’re backpacking. However, you can relax knowing you can use it with just about any appliances without concern, and unless you’re traveling to South Africa it’s likely the only adapter kit you’ll need.
Ultimately, you’ll need to look at a few different adapters and evaluate what you’ll need during your travels. Most adapters are small and light enough that even if you need to carry more than one during your trip you won’t feel overloaded. You might even consider leaving behind your adapter once you leave a country if you don’t plan to return because they are inexpensive and you can pass along goodwill.