After traveling to India 7 times over the past 7 years (that’s me pictured) I’ve learned the hard way how to deal with your electronics and power adapters in India.
Here’s the thing:
No matter what, it is going to be unpredictable (especially outside of the big cities). And it is always possible to fry your devices.
Read on to learn what you need for a trip to India.
See our product selection criteria and guidelines here.
Indian Outlets and Power Adapters
The plug shape used in India is quite different to the one we use here in the US and to most other countries as well. Your electronics will not work there unless you have a power adapter which is compatible with the Indian outlets (pictured).
The India power adapter is known as a “Type D” and works in all of the following countries: India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives, Pakistan.
India Power Adapter by Hero Travel Supply
After having varying experiences from trying countless different brands of India Power Adapters, I decided to take matters into my own hands. My company, Hero Travel Supply, sources and sells these quality adapters that are individually tested in the USA.
Every order also comes with a corresponding free ebook which teaches you how to avoid frying your electronics in India. I wrote this comprehensive guide based on years of experience in dealing with the unpredictable, often surging power supply in India which can ruin your devices (I know because my $2000 Macbook got fried)!
The typical United States voltage is 120 volts, whereas the voltage in India is (supposed to be) 240 volts. This means that unless your electronics are able to accommodate 240V, the Indian outlet will likely destroy your device!
The next section addresses how to know what voltage your device can handle, and if you should even bring it on your trip.
Keep in mind that although India is supposed to be 240V it is very unpredictable and can spike well below or even high above this voltage level. Later on in the eBook we will discuss how to combat this problem, so you can best avoid damaging your electronics.
The Voltage of Your Devices
There are two main types of appliances and chargers available in the electronic world: those that use single-voltage and those that can accommodate dual-voltage.
Single-voltage devices have a small voltage range (such as 100–120V). They are able to handle small voltage fluctuations but will not be able to handle India’s 240V power supply—if used you will likely end up with a smoking piece of electronics!
Some examples of single voltage appliances are older hair dryers and irons. There should be a tag, compliance plate or stamp on the appliance letting you know the voltage compatibility (see example shown above). If they are not rated at 240V don’t even bring these items with you. They are a fire hazard, and at best will break on your trip.
Dual-voltage devices have a larger voltage range, for example 110V/240V. These devices are able to handle up to 240V, and are “safer” to bring to India.
Some examples of dual-voltage devices include newer hair dryers, electric shavers, toothbrushes, irons, laptops, Kindles (as shown in the image), tablets, smartphones, cell phones, MP3 players, cameras and battery chargers. No transformer or converter is required to use these items in India—you just need the Hero Travel Supply Power Adapter that you have already wisely purchased.
Introduction to India’s power supply – getting to know the terrain
1) Beware of electrocution from dodgy wiring
In general, the electrical wiring in India is extremely unconventional and not something to be taken for granted as being safe. We have on multiple occasions, touched a live wire that we didn’t notice and got a nasty shock.
One time it was so bad my entire arm was numb for a day!… I advise taking care at all times when plugging in or removing an item from an outlet.
2) India’s power supply is very unpredictable
Although outlets in India should run at 240V, power outages and power spikes are extremely common. This is because the reliability of India’s power supply varies widely, from state to state, right across the country, due to lack of proper infrastructure and wiring. Even “electrical thievery” is common in India where poor locals steal the power by hooking their home electrical power line to the overhead city lines without paying for it!
How much the power can spike during a given day varies greatly from place to place. The bigger cities’ power supply tends to be a little more stable, while the more remote “outback” locations tend to be more unstable. In some places we would suggest it is erratic and unpredictable at best.
No matter where you are, it’s important that you never rely on the stability or dependability of the power supply.
3) Huge Voltage Fluctuations
Constant power spikes—especially in remote areas of India—can cause the voltage in an outlet to fluctuate from 0V all the way to 280V+ in a matter of seconds!
That huge fluctuation means that your electronics will take a serious beating… and a power surge at 280V, or even higher, is when your electronics will likely get seriously damaged.
Get your India power adapters (and the below ebook) on Amazon HERE.
Other India Packing List Items
In addition to your US to India power adapter, these items will help you pack with intention and expand the possibilities of your getaway. Also, check out our India packing list for more inspiration and ideas.
1. Jet Lag Relief
Getting to India is no easy feat. It’s a long haul to the other side of the globe, and while we can’t make the flight any shorter, we can help ease the jet lag that comes along with the long journey. These homeopathic jet lag relief pills can help you adjust to your new timezone, so you can spend more time enjoying the wonders of India and less time snoozing in the hotel room.
For the most part, India is a very safe country, however, with a population of 1.4 billion, you’ll more often than not find yourself in a crowd while you’re there. To make sure that your valuables stay safe from any wandering fingers, use a neck wallet. This one not only keeps your valuables like your phone, credit cards, cash, and passport close but also protects from any digital thefts with multi-layer RFID protection.
Speaking of protecting your valuables, keeping yourself safe while online is also very important when traveling and connecting to public wifi networks in airports, hotels, and restaurants. Digital “pickpockets” are more common than we’d like to think. Using a VPN is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to keep your private digital info like passwords, credit card numbers, and identity safe no matter where you travel.
India is hot, to say the least, and if you’re not used to being in an extremely hot climate, you’ll find yourself looking for ways to cool down throughout the day. The easiest way to keep yourself from overheating is to bring a cooling towel with you. With this towel all you have to do is get it wet, wring it out, and you’ll have 30 ice-cold minutes of refreshing relief– believe me, you’ll be thankful you’ve packed it when you’re in the 90°+ weather.
Unless you want to spend the better part of your trip in the bathroom, avoid putting unfiltered tap water in your mouth – no, not even for brushing your teeth. Rather, bring a water bottle with a built-in filter. This way you don’t have to worry about getting any of the pathogens that could get you sick. Plus, it’ll help curb your travel footprint because you can avoid using plastic water bottles.
It’s inevitable on your trip that, at some point you’ll need to put your bags in the hands of someone else. To keep your mind at ease that your items are safe, I’d highly recommend using luggage locks and even better TSA-Approved luggage locks. This way, when you get your suitcases back, you’ll know that everything you’ve packed is still safely stored.
Whenever you travel, you should sign up for travel insurance prior to leaving. This will make sure you’re fully covered if your flights are canceled, your luggage is stolen or if you have any mishaps during your trip. And getting travel insurance has never been easier. With Faye, you can find coverage, make claims, and get reimbursed easily from their app on your phone. If anything were to go awry while you’re abroad, you’ll be happy to have insurance that you can count on.
There’s ample opportunity to swim in India, especially if you’re in the beautiful states of Goa or Kerala. However, you won’t want to lug around a big soggy beach towel all day after you take a dip. You’ll be better off packing a quick-dry travel towel that not only drys fast but is also extremely compact, so it won’t add a lot of bulk to what you’re carrying around with you.
It can get pretty humid in parts of India, and with humidity, unfortunately, comes pesky mosquitoes. Instead of having to lather yourself up in greasy, toxic bug spray, simply wear a mosquito-repelling wristband to keep those pesky blood-suckers at bay. Pro Tip: You can wear these while you sleep to avoid being bit at night.
If there’s one thing I wish I had known earlier, it’s how big of a difference packing cubes make. They are essential to staying organized while traveling. Typically if you want to grab one thing out of your luggage, you’ll have to organize everything, but with packing cubes, you can simply grab the cube you need, and everything else stays nice and neat. Plus, the two extra laundry bags are a great way to keep your dirty clothes separate from your clean clothes.
Monsoon season brings some serious rain in India. You won’t want to get caught without an umbrella when it starts to come down– not even your quick-dry towel will be able to save you from these kinds of downpours. Be sure to get a high-quality umbrella that can handle the wind because one minute with an umbrella flipped inside out could leave you completely soaked.