Dual voltage power strips are a smart solution to dealing with portable and rechargeable electronics while traveling abroad. Modern hotel rooms often don't have enough wall outlets for recharging cell phones, digital cameras and laptops or tablets while using a hair dryer, watching television and making a cup of tea. And if you have a portable music device and an Amazon Kindle (Compare Prices)or an eReader plus personal grooming gear, deciding what to use and what to charge can be a juggling act.
At least, with so many dual voltage products around, you no longer need to carry heavy power adaptors and step down transformers when you travel internationally.
The Outlet and Plug Challenge
But there's still the issue of finding enough outlets (or power points as they call them in the UK)to charge up your phone, your camera and your laptop or tablet at the same time - a not uncommon occurrance. And, of course, even dual voltage appliances still need adaptor plugs for use in the UK, Europe or Asia - different ones for the UK and Europe and a separate plug for each piece of gear you expect to charge at the same time. Something else to clutter your luggage, get lost among your things and add extra weight.
The Power Strip Solution
Dual voltage power strips make a lot of sense. They look just like surge protectors or the multi-plug strips you'd use at home. But those designed for travel are automatically dual voltage, capable of handling a range of 110 to 250 volts - so usable anywhere in the world. The best ones are fitted with universal sockets - so whether your devices have US, European or Asian plugs, you can just plug them in and plug the strip into a wall outlet and you're good to go. Remember, though, you do have to buy at least one UK, European or Asian adapter plug because all the strips featured here are hardwired with a US plug.
SAFETY WARNING - These dual voltage power strips are made for use with dual voltage appliances. Don't try using any of them to plug in an ordinary US appliance (rated for 110V) in a UK or European outlet (rated for 220-240V). Your 110V device will fry, blow out or start a fire - if you're lucky. But why on earth would you travel with single voltage appliances and voltage converters or step down transformers anyway, when there are so many dual voltage travel devices around?
This no nonsense power strip from Magellan's is one of the best I've seen of if you come from North America and parts of the world that use North American plugs. It allows you to plug in three dual voltage devices and charge a USB device from one, trim strip, converting one US style outlet to three AC outlets. It's smaller than the palm of your hand and weighs only 6oz, so it's easy to stow away. And the 13" power cable wraps around the strip for storage. I like the addition of the USB port - that means one charger I don't have to bring along. (But do check your device with this port before you leave home. I found out, the hard way, that iPhones and iPads don't always work with USB ports made by generic manufacturers.)
It has a grounded, North American style plug so you'll need one grounded adaptor plug for whatever country you are visiting. And the outlets will only accept North American plugs.