Many of my guests inquire about what blow dryers and irons are best for traveling internationaly. The answer depends on where your going. The plugs adapters are easy to get, but you also have to take into consideration some other technical details, like the the voltage and alternating cycle of the electrical systems of where you are traveling. For this reason, I don’t recommend taking your regular blow dryers and irons abroad. Here is an explanation of how this works, followed by my suggestions of what to buy.
This excerpt is from CNN’s travel website:
To be on the safe side, travelers who plan to use electrical devices from home while they are traveling should learn about the electric systems — plug configurations, voltage and alternating cycles — in the countries they’re visiting.
Easiest to deal with is plug configuration. The standard two-prong plug used in the United States is common throughout Canada, Mexico, most of the Caribbean, some of South America and Asia (especially Japan, Korea and Taiwan).
However, in some places, wall outlets don’t have a third round hole required by two-prong plugs with a third round “grounding” prong. You’ll need an adapter, or add-on plug, with openings that fit your appliance plug on one side and prongs to fit the outlet on the other. These are available at most hardware stores for a dollar or less.
You’ll need an adapter for most of Continental Europe, where most outlets require plugs with two round prongs. You’ll need a different adapter for Great Britain, Ireland, Singapore and present or former British colonies, where outlets require plugs with three flat prongs; and still another for Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and China, where sockets also require plugs with three flat prongs – but in a different configuration.
Not all hotels provide adapters, but you can be prepared for all socket types if you stow a set of different adapter plugs in your suitcase.
The second consideration is voltage, or the pressure under which current flows through an electrical system. While most U.S. appliances work at 110 volts, many foreign power companies generate electricity at 220 volts. Some appliances have a toggle switch that allows them to work with both voltages, but for non-dual voltage appliances, you’ll need a converter to “step down” the 220 electric current to 110 so your appliances won’t burn out.
There are two different types of converters — one to run heating appliances (such as hair dryers, curling irons or clothes steamers) that use a lot of power, and another for motorized and electronic appliances (such as razors, laptop computers, radios and recharging camcorders) that run on less power.
Power consumption, measured in watts, as indicated on the appliance or its AC adapter unit. Appliances using more than 50 watts require high-power heating converters. Those using 50 watts or less require transformer converters.
If you travel with both types of appliances, you can carry two converters — or one converter with a toggle switch. However, when using the toggle-type converter, make sure the switch is on the appropriate setting; otherwise your appliance — or its AC adapter unit — will probably burn out.
Many converters (including most toggle types) are not designed for continuous use. If you’re plugging in a laptop, recharging a camcorder or some other device that must be plugged in for a long time, be sure to buy a heavy-duty transformer designed for that purpose.
The third system difference is the number of times an electrical current changes directions each second, or its alternating cycle. In the States, the alternating cycle is 60, but in Europe and other parts of the world, it’s 50. This disparity doesn’t affect heating gadgets like clothes steamers; but computers, video equipment and other items designed to work with an alternating cycle of 60 may overheat and be damaged if used with an alternating cycle of 50.
To guard against damage, carry a transformer that allows 60-cycle electronic items to work with a 50-cycle system. Ask the appliance’s manufacturer whether you’ll need to do this.
Adapter plugs, converters and transformers are available at luggage shops and travel boutiques. And Magellan’s, a Santa Barbara, California-based catalog of travel essentials, has a department to help you find products that suit your particular needs. Several pages of Magellan’s catalog are dedicated to electrical and telephone conversion devices that will facilitate use of and protect your equipment.”
As far as the plug goes, here is chart with the plugs for the various countries.
For the blow dryers and irons, you’ll need the dual voltage variety to be safe. Most hotels have dryers in them, but they are not very good if you actually style you’re hair. A good dryer with a nozzle just for travel is great to have so you can style your hair properly. Here are a few that would be a good choice. Paste the description into Amazon to get the current best price, and see similar models.
This dryer features:
Tourmaline Ionic Ceramic Technology for ultimate shine, volume and healthier looking styles
Ultra lightweight design
Cold shot button releases cool air to set the style
Concentrator and finger diffuser attachments included
True worldwide dual voltage
At 1.6 pounds, it’s a lightweight, powerful dryer that won’t when your out of the country. Click the link to see the reviews, they are quite good.
This iron features:
Professional High Performance Fast Heating SUPER SMOOTH Ionic Tourmaline Ceramic 1″ Floating Plates Emit Abundant Negative Ions to Create a silky Finish
Round Barrel Design with Adjustable Temperature Setting (280F – 450F), Flexible and Powerful to Work with Keratin Products
Auto Shut-off after 30 Minutes Idle Time to Enhance Safety; U Shaped Plate End Enclosures Assure No Gaps to pull the hair
Built-in Universal Dual-Voltage (100V – 240V) Power Adapter with US Plug & 360 Degree Tangle Free Swivel Cord
Inlcudes One Custom Fitted Heat Resistant Plastic Plate Protector / Enclosure for Storage and Travel Convenience
Ungrounded plug converts to U.S., Europe, Asia, China, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK
Elegant, safe and easy way to connect your dual voltage portable appliances worldwide
Color: Blue, Dimensions: 3″ Height x 1.75″ Width x 1.75″ Depth,
AC Max Rating: 10A 110-250V AC – Does Not Convert Voltage