Different electrical outlets (plugs), voltage and currents in different countries present a challenge for travellers who like their own appliances. Modern hotels, and recent renovations often include a hair dryer and dual plugs for North American electric razors. Find out in advance about the voltage at the hotel if you plan on taking electrical appliances with you. Some destinations are primarily either 220V or 110V, but it really depends on the hotel itself.
In most cases, you need more than a simple adapter for electrical outlets. If the appliance does not have a switch between 220V and 110V, you will need a step down transformer (used by North Americans to go from 220V in the wall down to 110V). This is best available in a Hi-Low Kit, which you can purchase from Canadian Tire and other hardware stores. This is a one-time investment that is worthwhile if you are planning more foreign travel in the future.
Think ahead about the most heavy duty electrical appliance with which you are likely to travel. For most, it is a simple electric razor or hairdryer, where a low-end 50-1800 watt kit will do the trick. If you’re looking to power a television or other high wattage appliances, you’ll need a larger transformer. Using a transformer for any long period of time is probably not advisable – you’re almost better off to buy another appliance.
Laptop computers and other electronic devices typically have a built in feature that automatically detects either 110V or 220V when you turn the computer on. Check your owner’s manual, or call the manufacturer. In this case, or in the case of an appliance with dual voltage settings, all you need is the adapter plug that is very inexpensive.
On each of the country pages on our website, we list the local electrical outlets and voltage. Many better hotels offer hairdryers and irons, so there is less and less need for adapters and transformers, unless you have other equipment to power.