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US to Europe Power Adapter: What Plug Do I Need? (2024)

US to Europe Power Adapter: What Plug Do I Need? (2024)
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Europe has long been a favorite travel destination for North Americans and for a good reason. Europe is a beautiful continent with incredible diversity, fascinating history, and many different cultures and languages, all packed into a relatively small area.

In order to make the most out of your Europe trip, it’s important you pack correctly, and that includes bringing the right power adapter. You don’t want to risk the integrity of your electronics or a broken phone, laptop, Kindle, or tablet due to a lack of preparedness. Use this quick guide to learn the basics and prepare for your adventure!

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Which power outlets do they use in Europe?

Europe Power Adapter
Here is an actual photo of the most common type of European outlet

Since most modern-day travelers depend on their phones, tablets, and laptops for a fun and safe trip, it’s critical that you’re able to charge your devices in each country you visit. Since wall sockets in Europe are different from those in North America and often vary from country to country, even within Europe, a power adapter is one of the most essential things to pack for your European adventure.

A lot of Europe uses type C, E, and F plugs, which are the variety with two round holes. However, in Switzerland, you’ll find type J sockets, which have three round holes in a triangular formation, and in Italy, they use type F and type L outlets, which have three round holes in a row. If you plan to visit the UK or Ireland, you’ll be using type G sockets, which have three rectangular prongs. In Europe, the electricity is 230 volts, and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.

What kind of power adapter do I need for Europe?

Europe power adapter
Recommended Europe power adapter available on ➜

If you are traveling to Europe from North America, one of the first questions to come to mind is probably, “What electrical adapter should I bring?” Unfortunately, your US devices won’t be able to be charged directly from an outlet in Europe, so you will need to bring an adapter.

I recommend using this Universal Travel Adapter since it works in most countries across Europe and in 100+ countries around the world. This adapter will have no problem charging your cell phone, laptop, tablet, or other devices across Europe.

I like this one in particular because it comes with a built-in fuse protector that will prevent any power surges from damaging your devices, two additional USB ports that make charging multiple devices at once possible, and a lifetime replacement guarantee! We trust the quality, knowing it’s backed with a lifetime guarantee, and it will serve you in almost all of your global travel!

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Other Europe Packing List Items

In addition to your universal European travel adapter, these items are essential for any trip. Also, check out our Europe packing list for more inspiration and ideas.

  • 1. Neck Wallet

    This neck wallet was designed with trips like this one in mind. On a journey to Europe, a neck wallet serves two important purposes. First – it makes it possible for you to keep all of your most important items together in one secure place so that you always know where they are. Secondly and most importantly, it protects your money and valuables from any would-be pickpockets. It can hold your cash, credit cards, passports, phones, travel docs, and more, concealing it under your shirt so you don’t have to flash your wallet to potential thieves.

    neck wallet

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  • 2. Jet Lag Relief

    The worst part about traveling to Europe is the long flight required to get there. When you touch down after flying trans-Atlantic, if you are like me, you’ll likely be suffering from jet lag and travel exhaustion. These all-natural pills will make it much easier to adjust to the new time zone and enjoy your first days in a new country so you don’t waste any precious time.

    jet lag relief

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  • 3. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    After having my credit card number stolen in Europe, I learned the hard way that even Airbnbs, hotels, airports, and cafes that you THINK are safe – are not. Anytime you join a public network, you are making your private data vulnerable to cyber thieves. As online attacks steadily increase worldwide, use a VPN to encrypt your data and ensure no one can monitor your online activity (this includes your internet provider, government entities, nosy neighbors, and hackers!) I’m a private person and love the peace of mind of knowing none of these creepy onlookers can track my activity.

    A VPN will also mitigate any regional censorship that can block your favorite websites. It’s the perfect solution that combines untraceable internet browsing, cybersecurity, blocking unwanted ads and malware, plus complete anonymity! It’s too affordable to overlook.

    how a vpn works

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  • 4. TSA-Approved Luggage Locks

    Most of Europe is considered quite safe for traveling, but petty theft can still be quite common. That said, I always like to play it safe wherever I travel by taking along a set of luggage locks for my checked bags and backpacks in crowded areas. These locks are small and light, yet strong enough to keep thieves out of your bags. They were designed to let TSA agents be able to inspect your bags at security.

    TSA-Approved Luggage Locks

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  • 5. Extra Phone Charging Cables

    On a trip to Europe, you’ll need your smartphone often to snap a picture, navigate, or book a hotel room. You definitely don’t want to get caught without some way to charge the battery when you need it most. That’s why I always bring a couple of extra phone charging cables on every trip to Europe (you’re bound to leave one or two behind at a train station or hotel, so bring spares!)

    Extra Phone Charging Cables

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  • 6. Travel Insurance for Europe

    Travel insurance is a non-negotiable since your domestic provider will not cover you overseas unless you have an international plan. Keep in mind that Europe is not the cheapest place to receive treatment. We have a friend who broke their arm hiking in Iceland, thankfully he had travel insurance so he didn’t pay out-of-pocket for the nearly $10K treatment and $30K transfer! Travel insurance will protect you in case of common travel issues like baggage loss, theft, flight delays, cancelations, medical transfers, and hospital bills.

    For peace of mind, we always use Faye. They are a modern solution to an archaic industry. With 100% digital reimbursements and claims, you don’t have to deal with endless paperwork for support. Their 24/7 specialists are super supportive and the cost is extremely low compared to other expenses incurred in international travel. Faye even has plans that cover entire trip cancellation!

    Travel Insurance for Europe

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  • 7. Windproof Travel Umbrella

    The weather in Europe can be wet and chilly at times, especially if you plan to visit the far north or travel in the off-season. This travel umbrella will protect you from rain and shine, and is more durable than a regular umbrella. Best of all, it packs away in a nice carrying case to fit in a small daypack until you need it.

    Windproof Travel Umbrella

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  • 8. Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger

    You’ll want to bring this ultra-portable charger on your trip for the same reason as the extra charging cords. Before I discovered this tiny portable phone charger, I regularly found myself stuck in unfamiliar places with a dead cell phone battery. Now, I keep one of these compact chargers in my pocket at all times, so I know I’ll never get caught out with a dead battery in an emergency again.

    Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger

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  • 9. Hanging Toiletry Bag

    Bathrooms in Europe are notoriously small. This is why the U.K. fondly refers to them as ‘water closets’ because there’s only room to spin in place and strictly handle business! Use this hanging toiletry bag to create storage out of thin air. It’s perfect for smaller bathrooms without countertops. Plus, you don’t want to throw your toiletries around the hotel room anyway or deal with plastic sacks to hold all of your leakable toiletries.

    This bag has 4 giant pockets on the inside with elastic bands that hold the bottles in place, plus 3 external compartments for smaller items like floss, Q-tips, and jewelry. It will add some pizzaz to your packing and unpacking flow, simplifying the whole process. We’re obsessed it’s a serious sanity saver!

    hanging toiletry bag

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  • 10. Quick-Dry Travel Towel

    Not every hotel or B&B in Europe will come equipped with towels – and they may not be up to your cleanliness standards. Not to mention, big fluffy hotel ones are too big to carry to the beach or on a hiking trip. This travel-sized towel is the perfect solution since it’s light as a feather, thin, but super absorbent (drying 10x faster than cotton). It’s a gem and you’ll find a ton of uses for it.

    Quick-Dry Travel Towel

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  • 11. Pre-Paid Europe SIM Phone Card

    Outrageous roaming rates are OUT, and having a local European phone number is IN! Use this SIM card to have a regional connection on a line provided by a European company. It will limit being charged an arm-and-a-leg by your domestic service and comes with 20GB of data! This one is compatible in 30 European countries so it’s perfect for country hopping or backpacking around the continent.

    Pre-Paid Europe SIM Phone Card

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  • 12. Packing Cubes

    I recommend that travelers to Europe limit themselves to one large piece of luggage to make it easier to travel between cities and countries on the continent. In order to make the most of a small amount of space, I like to organize all my clothes into these handy packing cubes. These organizers come in a set of five sizes, plus two extra laundry bags for dirty clothes. Use the 3-pack if you’re scared of commitment, but you’ll fall in love with these and want more!

    packing cubes

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  • 13. Luggage Straps

    These sturdy luggage belts are a fantastic safety net for your checked and carry-on baggage. Since these fit on nearly any size bag, you can get creative with their infinite uses. International travel can do a number on your travel equipment (and is actually 800% more likely to result in luggage damage or loss than domestic travel), but these adjustable belts will take the brunt of it since they can withstand 700+ lbs of tension force.

    Not only is it WAY easier to identify your bags at the chaotic abyss of baggage claim, but you can also tether bags together when maneuvering through busy airports and train stations, create a makeshift handle if anything breaks, secure your retractable handle so it doesn’t pop out at inconvenient times, etc. If anything gets lost, there is a built-in ID tag so someone can contact you. It’s a thoughtful precaution for more than one potential issue.

    luggage straps

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  • 14. Activated Charcoal

    My wife got food poisoning in Europe, even at a Michelin-star gourmet restaurant! Anything from nice cuisine – to street food – to tap water can make you sick, and this is common for travelers as their bodies adjust to a new place. Bring these activated charcoal tablets to make that adjustment period much smoother. It will limit any tummy aches and get you back on your feet way faster!

    Activated Charcoal

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  • 15. Filtered Water Bottle

    You can’t always rely on others to provide you with clean water. The taste of tap water is a little hit-or-miss throughout Europe, and I always travel with a filtered water bottle to ensure we have full control over our water supply. It’s way better than buying wasteful plastic ones throughout your trip (which can add up!), and this Brita option noticeably improves the taste of your water. It’s affordable and smart to bring!

    Filtered Water Bottle

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  • 16. Packable “Just in Case” Bag

    We’ve all faced the traveler’s conundrum of overpacking. Since you’ll probably be shopping a bit and picking up a souvenir or two, this “just in case” bag is the perfect solution for extra storage! Its duffle-like material means that it takes up no space on the flight over, but for the flight back, it will count as your personal item bag to avoid pesky carry-on fees. Voila!

    Packable “Just in Case” Bag

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What’s the electricity and power supply like in Europe?

Europe power Europe differs from the US in that a higher portion of the electricity is generated from renewable sources. In Europe, you will often see solar panels along the highways, and wind turbines are quite common on and offshore.

The only downside to this is that electricity tends to be much more expensive in Europe than in other parts of the world. That’s one of the reasons that you will often find fewer outlets in European hotel rooms. Compared to the US, Europeans tend to be more energy-conscious and use less electricity per person than Americans. The power grid in Europe is highly modernized and well-maintained, so blackouts are rare, especially in Western Europe.

Do I need a voltage converter in Europe?

This depends on the type of electronic devices that you plan to use on your vacation. Most travelers won’t need to bring a voltage converter to Europe unless they plan on using high-powered electronics, such as electric kettles or hair dryers that aren’t dual voltage. It is rare that a commonly used electronic device like a laptop, cell phone, or tablet would require a voltage converter.

That said, it’s important to remember that a power adapter doesn’t convert the voltage. Most sockets in Europe have 230 volts, which is twice the voltage of American power sockets and could be too much for certain devices. Prior to departing for Europe, make sure to check the voltage range for each device you plan to use on the trip. Most devices list the voltage range on the bottom or the back of the unit.

If any of your devices are 100-120V appliances and not dual voltage, you’ll need a voltage converter to safely use it in Europe.

Other FAQs about traveling in Europe

  • 1. When is the best time to visit Europe?

    When is the best time to visit Europe?

    Most travelers head for Europe in the summer when the weather is nice, and there are numerous festivals all over the continent. That said, people who prefer a little more peace and quiet should consider visiting during the off-season (September to May) for a more relaxed trip. If you want to get pleasant weather without crushing crowds, try to hit Europe in the early fall or late spring.

  • 2. How much time will I need to experience Europe?

    That depends entirely on how much of Europe you plan to cover and how deeply you want to immerse yourself in the culture of the places that you visit. On the shorter end of the spectrum, it’s possible to enjoy three or four cities in under two weeks. To really see a lot of Europe and appreciate the culture and people, I would say three months is an ideal amount of time for a long-distance tour.

  • 3. What is the best way to get around Europe?

    What is the best way to get around Europe?

    Most people arrive in Europe by way of a long international flight. Once you get there, the best way to get around is by bus or train. Europe has an excellent transportation network that makes traveling between countries safe, fun, and comfortable. Many people choose to buy a train pass that allows them to travel between cities anywhere in Europe over a set period of time. You can sometimes find even cheaper deals for similar bus passes.

  • 4. Will I need to worry about border crossings between countries?

    If you have traveled much around other parts of the world, you probably have learned to dread border crossings, which are often slow, boring, and expensive. So you’ll be delighted to know that in most of Europe, you can travel between countries without so much as a passport stamp or a customs inspection. This is thanks to the Schengen Area, which is a collection of 26 European countries that have abolished passport requirements and border checkpoints between nations. All you have to do is check in when you arrive in Europe, and you’re good to go.

  • 5. What is a must-see city for a first-time visitor to Europe?

    What is a must-see city for a first-time visitor to Europe?

    Europe has so many must-see destinations that it’s difficult to pick only a few for one trip. For culture, excellent food, and fascinating history, it’s hard to beat Rome, the center of the western world for thousands of years. Here you can explore ancient ruins, admire famous art and architecture, enjoy delicious Italian food, and even visit the largest church (and smallest country) in the world – the Vatican.

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