Question about electrical conversion when travelling

I am a Canadian who travels a few times each year, often to Europe and occassionally to the UAE.

One thing that is a bit of a pain is dealing with electrical conversion for recharging and powering devices.

I am currently in Europe on vacation and last night, during a time zone induced insomnia session, started thinking about this. It occurred to me that I could get a small power-bar with maybe four standard N. American outlets and a couple of USB ports. If, while overseas, I plugged this into the wall socket with a converter, is there any reason that this would be dangerous, or wouldn’t work?

Thank you very much

I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Just make sure you don’t overload the converter, I assume they have some type of watt or amp rating on them.

It will be fine. Just remember the usual warnings about overloading or daisy-chaining power strips. Also be sure that you connect it to the power transformer. Power strips like this will not convert or protect themselves if they get plugged directly into the wall. Some do offer surge protection, but that is not the same thing as having a transformer.

I just use those little ones with two or three plugs that are the size of a grapefruit.

What devices exactly? For most people it’s usually just laptop, phone, Kindle etc - for which there are more elegant solutions.

You are talking about plugging a 240V -> 120V converter to the wall, and plugging a power strip to its output? Or just a plug adapter (i.e. the power strip is getting 240V)?

If the former, then no problem. In the latter case, I’ve seen some “travel” power strips that are only rated for 120V. So i would check the rating on your power strip before trying this. (Actually, even if it’s not rated for 240V it will likely be OK, but do you really want to take chances?)

And of course, if you are just using a plug adapter, you need to make sure every device you plug into the power strip is compatible with 240V.

I’m using a travel converter to power and/or recharge a laptop, smartphone, ipod, and small audio speakers that recharge via usb plugs.

The laptop’s power adapter can almost certainly handle 240 volt, so all it needs is a plug converter so the North American cord can fit in the appropriate plug. Check the laptop’s adapter, though, as perhaps it is the only laptop adapter ever that is NOT 120-240 rated. For the USB devices, you can get a multiport USB charger which is also capable of 120-240 volt operation. It, too, will only need a plug adapter, and not a power converter. I suspect most USB chargers can handle 120-240 volts.

I think you should be able to get by with two plug adapters, and a multiport USB charger. If your laptop uses USB-C for power, you might even be able to get a multiport USB charger which can also do USB-C power delivery, which is different than just USB-C phone charging, and have a single device which provides all your power.

To answer your original question, though. I would occasionally visit a friend in the UK who originally came from North American. He did keep a power transformer with a power strip connected to it for plugging in his non-240 compatible stuff. The power transformer was definitely not travel sized, but it did have the wattage to run a rack of audio gear.

Is your question intended slightly different—you know your laptop and USB chargers are all 240 volt capable—you just want to plug them into a North American power strip, which is using a plug converter to carry 240 volt? I do not recommend this. I don’t think many North American power strips will be rated for 240 volts.

Most electronic devices, nowadays, can handle anything you could get out of the wall in any developed country on the planet. But as others said, double-check the devices just in case.

The power strip may or may not be rated for it. Be absolutely sure to double-check that.

And USB is USB, anywhere you go. If you have a device that plugs into USB, and can find any local USB source, it should work. I’ve even seen wall outlets that have USB ports, and you could also do something like a computer or whatever.