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

US to Switzerland Power Adapter: What Plug Do I Need? (2024)
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Swiss chocolate, Swiss cheese, the Swiss Alps – Switzerland is a magical destination that’s popular for all types of travelers, especially nature-lovers. To make the most of your time in Switzerland, make sure you’re fully prepared for the trip – and fully prepared to keep your electronic devices safe and in working order.

The last thing you want is for your phone to die just when you’re trying to get that iconic shot of the Matterhorn – or for your electronics to get damaged due to improper charging. Use this quick guide to understand the basics of Swiss power and how to stay online throughout your adventure!

See our product selection criteria and guidelines here.

Which power outlets do they use in Switzerland?

switzerland power outlet
Here is an actual photo of a
Switzerland power outlet

Like many European countries, Switzerland has two kinds of electrical sockets, one of which is Type C. This outlet type has two round holes and is ungrounded. However, Type J outlets are more common in cities like Geneva and Zurich and throughout the countryside. The difference is that Type J has three round holes, the third for a grounding pin. Type J outlets take both Type C and Type J plugs, but the head of the plug needs to fit inside the hexagonal indentation around Swiss outlets.

Type J outlets are found almost exclusively in Switzerland and Lichtenstein. Though they look very similar to the Type N outlets in Brazil, the spacing between the holes is slightly different, meaning devices with the Brazilian plug type won’t fit. Like most countries in Europe and around the world (but unlike the U.S.), Switzerland uses a frequency of 50 Hz and a voltage of 230V.

What kind of power adapter do I need for Switzerland?

Switzerland power adapter
Recommended Switzerland power adapter available on ➜

“What plug do I need in Switzerland?” is something first-time travelers will need to know. At a minimum, your US-to-Switzerland power adapter must have two round pins (Type C) that will fit into the three-pronged Type J sockets and the two-pronged plug Type C sockets found in Switzerland.

Whether you’re only visiting Switzerland or if you’re traveling to multiple countries, we recommend that you use a Universal Adapter. It includes the type C plug that can be used in Switzerland and throughout the rest of Europe in addition to other plugs, making it compatible with over 100 countries around the world.
Not to mention, this one comes with a lifetime replacement guarantee to ensure the quality, AND a built-in fuse protector in case of any power surges. It’s the last adapter you’ll need to buy for Europe and will support you in tons of global travel.

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Other Switzerland Packing List Items

In addition to your US-to-Switzerland power adapter, these items will help you pack with intention and expand the possibilities of your getaway. Also, check out our Switzerland packing list for more inspiration and ideas.

  • 1. Neck Wallet / Passport Holder

    Switzerland is very safe, but pickpocketing and petty theft still occur almost everywhere in the world. Here, you’ll have to take caution in crowded places like transit stations and in tourist-filled cities like Zurich and Geneva. Avoid looking like vulnerable prey, and don’t flash your wallet repeatedly. Use this neck wallet to store your valuables like cash, credit cards, passports, phones, and travel documents. You’ll be much safer in public areas, and it’s best to keep the essentials together during busy travel days when the jet lag sets in. This one has RFID-blocking material, which makes it safe from digital thieves who try to scan your financial data.

    neck wallet

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  • 2. Quick-Dry Travel Towel

    We never travel without this microfiber towel. It dries 10x faster than cotton and is super lightweight, which is easier to carry around than big, fluffy hotel ones. You’ll find tons of uses for it, like drying off at hot springs and thermal baths, as a seat cover on public transit, as a packing cushion, and more!

    Quick-Dry Travel Towel

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  • 3. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    Switzerland admittedly does not have as strong of online defenses as many other countries in Europe – in 2022, there were over 30K cybersecurity attacks and the number grows each day. You’ll need a VPN to encrypt your private data such as passwords, credit card numbers, and social security info. If you don’t secure a private connection, you could risk hackers and creepy onlookers watching your virtual activity.

    A VPN like NordVPN is multi-talented and will also block annoying ads, increase your streaming speed, and cease any regional censorship. This private connection will free you to surf the internet without restrictions on your favorite sites like YouTube, Netflix, PayPal, and more. I wouldn’t travel without a VPN since I had my credit card number stolen at (what I thought was a safe) Airbnb. And it’s too affordable for you to risk either!

    how a vpn works

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  • 4. Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger

    We all used to manage without them, but a smartphone is a critical travel essential these days. It’s your map, your camera, lifeline, flashlight, and your way to call an Uber (among other things), so you really don’t want the battery to die while you’re out. Fortunately, a tiny portable charger is all you need to keep it charged throughout the day.

    Lipstick-Sized Charger

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  • 5. Windproof Travel Umbrella

    Rainfall varies depending on what parts of Switzerland you visit, but regardless, there’s a good chance you’ll run into at least a rainy day or two. In order to arrive prepared, we suggest bringing a quality travel umbrella that’s compact enough to easily fit in your daypack. The umbrella we recommend comes with a snazzy zip case so you can store your wet umbrella in your backpack even if it’s drenched!

    travel umbrella

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  • 6. Travel Insurance for Switzerland

    No one anticipates getting sick, but accidents happen all the time, particularly when abroad in a foreign place. Your domestic provider will not cover you overseas in most cases, so you will need to secure your travel investment with travel insurance. You don’t want to risk paying out-of-pocket for a medical emergency like our friends did while hiking in Europe; their international hospital bill with transit was nearly $50K!

    Don’t pay bills that are preventable. We use Faye because their 100% digital service makes the claims process a breeze. We were reimbursed quickly and wired the funds when we needed them most. They will cover you for baggage loss, theft, flight delays, transfers, evacuations, and medical expenses – AND they even have affordable add-ons to cancel your trip “for any reason,” which is super handy in case plans change!

    Travel Insurance for Switzerland

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  • 7. Packing Cubes

    Use a set of packing cubes to stay fully organized on your trip – it’s an absolute game-changer! Instead of putting every item into your backpack or suitcase individually, fold your clothes into the cubes and then pack the cubes into your bag. Use one cube for tops, one for bottoms, and so on – you’ll never have to dig to find anything or throw your suitcase apart again. This set even comes with two bonus laundry bags, and you can go for the 3-pack if you want a smaller set.

    packing cubes

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  • 8. Jet Lag Relief

    Switzerland is six hours ahead of the East Coast of the U.S. and nine hours ahead of the West Coast – that means you’re likely to suffer from jet lag at the beginning of your trip. Bring some jet lag relief pills to help you cope with the time difference and avoid falling asleep before dinnertime. These are all-natural and really help!

    jet lag relief

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  • 9. Hanging Toiletry Bag

    One of our favorite discoveries in recent years is this hanging toiletry bag! It’s a brilliant concept to create a shelf-like system out of thin air, even when your bathroom is not equipped with adequate storage space. This one, in particular, is designed by travelers, for travelers, and dozens of iterations were created to perfect this final product.

    It has 4 giant pockets on the inside and 3 small compartments on the outside, giving you ample room to organize your self-care routine. It’s way better than sprawling random products all over your hotel room or trying to pack them up at the end. Simply put – once you try it, you won’t go back to a toiletry bagless life.

    hanging toiletry bag

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  • 10. TSA-Approved Luggage Locks

    Sadly, we had something stolen out of our checked luggage when flying overseas once. It’s unnerving to have your belongings out-of-sight for long durations, so secure everything with luggage locks. These are great for backpacks in crowded areas prone to pickpockets or hotel/city lockers, and they’re TSA-approved for your checked luggage.

    luggage locks

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  • 11. Altitude Sickness Relief

    Some visitors experience altitude sickness in Switzerland since its peak is 15,203 feet above sea level. Come with a preventative measure by packing these altitude relief supplements. It will help you adapt as the oxygen levels drop within the steep altitude change. It’s great support in addition to moving yourself to a lower elevation.

    Altitude Sickness Relief

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  • 12. Waterproof Phone Pouch

    From the snow to moisture to sunshine – use a waterproof phone case to protect your phone from the elements. Phones are talented but typically not waterproof, and this case will allow you to film underwater videos. Between pool days and hot springs, this safeguard will come in handy.

    Waterproof Phone Pouch

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  • 13. Filtered Water Bottle

    The tap water in Europe is fairly clean, but whether it’s contaminated or heavily chlorinated to purify it – you may need a filtered water bottle to improve the safety and taste. We like this Brita option because it’s affordable and reusable, which saves us a ton of plastic waste when traveling. If you go off the beaten path, bottled water may not be available, so it’s wise to maintain autonomy over your water supply.

    Filtered Water Bottle

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  • 14. Luggage Straps

    You’ll find a million uses for these luggage belts and I can’t recommend them enough! While I always considered them a must for strengthening your suitcase against mishandling and ensuring everything stays just how you packed it – many travelers actually use these purely for identification purposes. Because these days, thousands of bags can look eerily similar and you’ll want an immediate way of knowing which ones are yours in a crowd. With the bright colors and prints, you’ll be able to spot your cases from a mile away.

    You can also tether bags together when navigating busy airports and train stations, fix anything that breaks, create a makeshift handle, tie things together, or get things off the ground. They’re lightweight yet heavy-duty, backed by a lifetime replacement guarantee.

    luggage straps

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  • 15. Discounted Swiss Tours

    There are so many incredible things to experience in Switzerland. We book our tours through Get Your Guide since they work with local companies to give you an authentic local experience (but you’re still supported by a middleman for reliability, flexible cancelation, and peace of mind).
    While in Switzerland, venture to the Matterhorn, explore Zürich, or take a day trip through nearby Italy!

    Discounted Swiss Tours

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  • 16. Packable “Just in Case” Bag

    Spare yourself the pain of underpacking by bringing this extra “just in case” bag. It will be invaluable for shopping trips where you’ll pick up local goods like Swiss chocolate, wine, watches, leather, and more. We love this one in particular because it takes up no space on the trip there, but then counts as your personal item on the flight home (no carry-on fees? Yes, please!)

    Packable “Just in Case” Bag

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

Switzerland power plantLike other types of Swiss infrastructure, the electrical grid in Switzerland is of extremely high quality. Whether you’re in a city like Zurich or Geneva, or a more rural area, there isn’t much to worry about. While power outages occasionally occur, usually during storms, you’re unlikely to experience one during your visit.

Switzerland relies primarily on hydroelectricity. The Alps cover almost two-thirds of the country’s landmass, which provides numerous large mountain lakes and artificial reservoirs perfectly suited for hydropower.

Do I Need A Voltage Converter In Switzerland?

Because Switzerland’s electrical grid operates at a voltage of 230V, you’ll need a converter to use devices that are rated to anything below 230V at a fixed voltage. This would include high-powered appliances such as hairdryers and straighteners. However, almost all personal electronics, such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and cameras, are dual-voltage and do not require a converter.

Other FAQs about traveling in Switzerland

  • 1. When to Travel to Switzerland

    Switzerland scenerySwitzerland’s main tourist season runs from May to September, when the days are longest and the weather is warmest. However, that’s also when prices climb and things book up early. If you visit in the spring or fall instead, you’ll still be treated to mostly pleasant weather, but there will be fewer crowds and lower prices. If you’re planning a ski trip, ski season lasts from December to March (if you’re not skiing, try to avoid the resort towns during that time). Be sure to check current Swiss travel advisories before you go.

  • 2. What’s the weather like in Switzerland?

    Though mountains cover two-thirds of its land, Switzerland generally isn’t as cold as people think. The weather mostly varies by elevation, and the valleys in southern Switzerland tend to be the hottest parts of the country. During the summer, average highs in the main cities are in the upper-70s, and rain is common.

    Wintertime is generally chilly, and the snowfall at higher elevations is heavy. Many areas also experience intense fog during the coldest months.

  • 3. What’s there to do in Zurich?

    Zurich SwitzerlandZurich isn’t the capital of Switzerland, but it’s the country’s largest city and a major global financial center. No surprise, it’s full of things to do and see. Visit the Swiss National Museum and the Museum of Art, as well as the FIFA World Football Museum if you’re a soccer fan.

    To get some fresh air, head to Lake Zurich or Uetliberg Mountain, or take a bike tour of the city.

    Zurich is also home to the world’s oldest vegetarian restaurant (it’s even Guinness-confirmed!), Hiltl, which serves over 500 meat-free dishes.

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  • 4. What’s there to do in Switzerland?

    Switzerland is a small country (only slightly bigger than Maryland), but it packs a punch. A nature lover’s paradise, the mountains are definitely Switzerland’s biggest attraction. You can hike one of the thousands of marked trails, take a cable car up to one of the many accessible peaks, or hit the slopes if you’re there in the winter.

    Other top sites include the CERN research center, the United Nations Office at Geneva and castles like Chateau Chillon. Switzerland has plenty for gastronomically inclined travelers to enjoy as well, including sampling local wines, learning to make cheese fondue, and touring chocolate factories.

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  • 5. How to get around in Switzerland?

    Switzerland trainSwitzerland is a country known for precision and organization, and it shows. The transportation infrastructure is extremely well-developed, and public transit options are plentiful.

    All of the major towns have extensive public bus systems, and the larger cities have convenient train and tram networks as well. Uber is also available in the main cities.

    Most of Switzerland is connected by an inter-city rail network, with trains operated by the government-run Swiss Federal Railways and by several private companies. The trains are comfortable and efficient, but tickets are pricey, so a Eurail pass could save you a lot of money.

    There are also long-distance buses in Switzerland, which reach some corners of the country not served by the train. They are slower and less comfortable, but also cheaper. BlabBaCar is very popular in Switzerland as well and can be a cheaper way to get where you’re going. Lastly, renting a car is fairly straightforward, and driving is easy thanks to the well-maintained roads and clear traffic laws.