For me, one of the big headaches about going abroad was figuring out what I would need to keep my electronics from blowing up! Computers tend to be easier (virtually all of them should have currency converters built in) but what about everything else? What do you need to know?
U.S. electronics run on 120 V. Most countries will either run on 110V (in which case you shouldn’t need a converter) or 240V (when you will need one). Check out this website for a list by country of what current they use and what kinds of plugs you’ll need http://www.kropla.com/electric2.htm
You can buy converters at most electronic stores or departments, so I recommend doing this here—it’s a lot harder to find these in a foreign country, especially since you won’t know where to look and most of what they’ll have is to convert THEIR electronics to other systems.
You’ll also want to double check the type of plug you’ll need. Our typical U.S. plug looks pretty standard, but you’d be surprised what these look like in some parts of the world! We use A and B plugs (don’t ask me what that means, just know it!) while the country you’re going to may use a huge variety of other plugs instead. Again, go to an electronics store and ask for a plug adapter for wherever you’re going—they’ll be able to help you find it.
The last thing to check is WHAT YOU’RE ACTUALLY TAKING! Computers, i-pods, i-pads and cameras are pretty standard, but girls, do you really need to bring hair dryers and curling irons? You can find this pretty cheap wherever you’re going and just buy one there—plus, these tend to fry REALLY easily so, in my mind, it’s not worth even taking. Take only the electronics you KNOW you’ll need—anything else you can borrow, buy cheap or do without. Lots of Study Abroad providers have stashes of small electronics left by previous students, so you may ask them too.
Good luck and pack light 🙂
Stephanie Roberts, OIE Graduate Peer Advisor