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Which Transformers and Adaptors to Bring On Your French Holiday - Some Time Saving Advice

Aug 17, 2007
When preparing your French holiday, do not forget to do a little research and pack the correct adaptors and or transformers for your small appliances. Otherwise you will get yourself into trouble and blow up your appliances.

Firstly, we need to make sure you understand the terminology. Adaptors are simple devices which allow you to connect one plug into a different shaped plug. You can get adaptors for American to European, English to European, Australian to European and vice versa - basically any combination for different shaped plugs. You can even purchase expensive adaptors to plug in anywhere in the world.

Adaptors are light in weight. These are not to be confused with transformers (also called converters) which modify the characteristics of the current which is input in your appliance. Transformers or converters are usually much heavier and bulkier than adaptors as they have a metal coil in them.

Transformers are not adaptors. The tricky part is that some transformers can also be adaptors at the same time if the terminal is adapted for a different shaped foreign socket.

Next before you jet off you need to consider plug differences. The electrodes (terminals) on an American plug are flat. The electrodes on all French plugs are cylindrical. All french wall outlets only accept these cylindrical plugs. Quite simply you won't be able to plug your flat American plug into a regular French socket unless you use an adaptor. The United Kingdom also has flat plugs and British tourists also need adaptors. Adaptors are simple devices which allow you to connect your appliance into a plug with a different shape than the country where you purchased your appliance.

If you need to buy yourself a cheap adaptor you should be able to find inexpensive ones at your local hardware store. It might be prudent to telephone first before driving down to the hardware store. If you are lucky you will be able to pick up an adaptor at a market for around 1 pound. If you still can not find one anywhere, you can usually buy them at an inflated price at the airport or the ferry port or the eurotunnel terminal - but you will pay about three times more.

Adaptors come in all shapes and forms. The more sophisticated and consequently the more expensive also allow you to plug your devices anywhere in the world. I paid 9 euros for a European to Worldwide adaptor at the Eurotunnel terminal in Calais.

Next you need to consider the power voltage differences. England has 240 volt standard power like France. European power typically comes out of the electrical outlets at 230-240 volts. Europe has over twice the voltage of America where the standard volts is 110. If you plug a 110 volt American appliance into a French socket with an adaptor and no converter or transformer you will blow it up. You can get electric shavers and other appliances rated to operate at between 110 volts and 240 volts, which will not burn out when you plug it in a French socket.

If you want to take your portable CD player, laptop, digital camera, mobile phone, electric shaver, or any electrical appliance and their chargers you must first look at the voltage they supports.

If your appliance comes with a converter , a small device which converts a 110 volt current into a 9-12 volt current, you also need to check its input voltage. The label should clearly state which voltage it accepts. If it states '110 Volts', that is not good enough. You will burn both appliance and converter when you plug them in a French or any European socket.

You should only pack appliances that work in the 110-240 volt power band, or at a low voltage of 9-12 volts with a transformer (or converter) that supports an input voltage of 240. You need a converter which accepts the 110-240 volt range.

Good news - Transformers for laptops are normally rated to work at 100-240 volts. But make sure you check it first. If your laptop only operates at 110 volts, go to your local computer store, and buy a suitable multi-voltage converter for your specific model. Similarly you will need to check the labels on the battery chargers for mobile phones and digital cameras and the labels on the transformers which come with them. Some battery chargers will accept the higher 240-volt current, some won't.

Hairdryers usually suck in a large amount of power in order to produce the heat to dry your hair. If yours does not operate at between 110 and 240 volts, you will have to buy a transformer and these are normally quite bulky. You should call the hotel first to check whether they provide blow-dryers in the rooms. If they do travel light and leave yours behind.

Now you are thoroughly prepared you can sit back and enjoy your French holiday. Remember there is more to France than Paris. The Loire Valley 2 hours south of Paris is incredibly popular and defiitely worth an extended visit.
About the Author
Corina Clemence runs a luxury french chateau in the Loire Valley near Blois, for up to fifteen people perfect for touring vineyards and chateaux and relaxing french holidays. It is also ideal for a french wedding, party or event. Rent the whole castle or rent a suite. Rent a castle in France. Hire castle - hire chateau Rent castle http://www.loirechateau.com Rent chateau
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