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

london double decker bus
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As one of the world’s top tourist destinations, the United Kingdom (UK) has no shortage of interesting things to see and do. England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland each have distinct histories and cultures, as well as their own major attractions.

But to protect your electronic devices, you will need to understand the basics of the regional outlets and plug requirements. This quick guide will give you insight into the best power adapter and how to ensure your phones, laptops, kindles, tablets, etc. are not damaged.

See our product selection criteria and guidelines here.

Which power outlets do they use in the UK?

Type G outlets are used throughout England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland (see picture above). These sockets have three rectangular holes, including a ground.

Outlets in the UK often have a small switch just above them that must be turned on in order for electricity to flow. Experts generally agree that Type G is by far the safest of all the kinds of sockets found around the world – a small price to pay for a little extra bulk. Outside of the UK, this outlet type pretty much only exists in former British colonies such as Hong Kong.

Like the majority of countries, the frequency of the UK’s electrical grid is 50Hz. The standard voltage there is 230V, meaning appliances rated between 220 and 240V can be safely used without a voltage converter.

What kind of power adapter do I need for the UK?

UK power adapter
Recommended UK power adapter available on ➜

If you’re making your first trip to London (or somewhere else in the UK), you’ll probably be asking, “What plug do I need for the UK?” The outlets in the UK only work with one plug type, so if you’re from the US, you’ll definitely need an adapter for your trip.

A US-to-UK power adapter will allow you to use American devices with British sockets. Fortunately, US and UK outlets look nothing alike, so you probably won’t make the mistake of trying to plug in an American device without a power adapter.

This Universal Adapter pictured is the one we recommend because it will charge your personal electronics in the UK AND over 100 other countries worldwide. It works in Australia, China, France, Greece, Ireland, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Thailand, the UK, the USA, and more!

It also comes with a lifetime replacement guarantee (meaning it’s the last adapter you’ll ever need to buy) and has a built-in fuse to save your devices from power surges. It’s the best adapter we’ve come across and we recommend it to any global traveler.

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Other UK Packing List Items

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

  • 1. Neck Wallet / Passport Pouch

    All major cities (such as London) in the UK have serious issues with pickpocketing. Instead of putting valuables in your pocket or carrying a handbag – store your cash, credit cards, passports, and phones in a handy neck wallet. A thief could easily reach into your pocket or bag, but they probably won’t be able to grab something underneath your clothes and securely around your neck. This one has RFID-blocking material to stop anyone from scanning your credit cards as they walk by, and it will keep you organized on busy travel days (when the jet lag starts to kick in!)

    neck wallet

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  • 2. Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger

    If you’re using your phone as a camera or for maps while on your trip, you’ll definitely want to make sure it stays charged. Fortunately, all you need is a tiny portable charger, and you’ll be able to recharge it throughout the day, with no outlet required. Seriously, this little device has saved us countless times! You never know when you need to call for a ride or look something up in an emergency.

    Lipstick-Sized Charger

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  • 3. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    The NCSC has warned about growing threats to the UK’s digital landscape with increases in cybersecurity attacks. Since there are thousands of online attacks each day, you must protect your private data. The last thing you want on vacation is to wake up with a drained bank account, stolen PayPal password, or sold identity.

    We use a trustworthy VPN like NordVPN to encrypt our data when logging onto Wi-Fi networks in public places like cafes, hotels, airports, and more. It adds a layer of protection that hackers, nosy neighbors, and government entities can’t get through (meaning no more creepy eyes monitoring your online activity!) It also mitigates any regional censorship that could be limiting your access to popular websites.

    how a vpn works

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  • 4. Packing Cubes

    Staying organized on the road is a must, and packing cubes are a lifesaver. Instead of tossing everything in your suitcase or backpack individually, pack your clothes and other items into cubes. Use one for shirts, one for dresses, and so forth, and then put them in your main bag. It’ll be much easier to find what you need, and your bag won’t explode when you open it. These even have a little index card holder on the back so you can write exactly what’s in each cube – total GAME-CHANGER! The bonus laundry bags to separate dirty items also help us stay organized while abroad.

    packing cubes

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  • 5. Extra Phone Charging Cables

    Charging cables are easy to forget, but they’re critical for a smooth trip. Whether you want to charge your phone with a traditional charger, a portable one, or the USB port on a plane or train, you’ll need to be able to plug it in. To be safe, bring an extra cord. They’re easily forgotten when charging in random places and a pain to replace.

    Extra Phone Charging Cables

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  • 6. Travel Insurance for the UK

    The UK is an expensive place to get sick, and your domestic provider will not cover you across the pond. Providers like Medicare and Medicaid cease coverage once you cross domestic borders, and paying out-of-pocket for a medical bill or transport could reach six-figures WAY too quickly.

    Protect yourself just as you would owning a car or home. Your trip isn’t cheap, and this is a small cost to ensure expenses don’t get catastrophic. Travel insurance covers you for flight delays, cancelations, theft, baggage loss, and international hospital bills. We use Faye because they’ve made travel insurance easier than ever. You can find coverage, make claims, and get reimbursed straight from their app on your phone without having to deal with any confusing paperwork.

    Travel Insurance for the UK

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  • 7. Jet Lag Relief

    If you’re really prone to it, avoiding jet lag can feel like a reason to avoid trans-oceanic flights, especially if the trip abroad is a short one. Instead of skipping your trip, bring some jet lag relief pills to help you adjust to the time difference quickly. These are all-natural without side effects and will help you overcome drastic time changes, flight delays, layovers, and the likes!

    jet lag relief

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  • 8. Windproof Travel Umbrella

    The UK is notorious for its rainy and windy weather, and that’s why we highly recommend you bring a windproof travel umbrella like the one pictured. This item will help keep you dry even on the worst days, so you can still be out enjoying the famous sites and city delights. One feature that makes this one extra valuable is the waterproof case it comes with so that you can zip up the umbrella and put it in your backpack even if it’s drenched!

    travel umbrella

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  • 9. Luggage Straps

    Zippers aren’t meant to withstand overpacking, and baggage handling is generally not very delicate on flights, cruises, bus tours, etc. You can’t expect anyone to baby-your-bags, and they won’t! So these straps will reinforce your items to ensure nothing explodes onto the cobblestone streets of Europe (or worse, gets lost in the intricate conveyor belt operation deep inside the airport!)

    The bright colors help you to immediately recognize your things at the baggage claim terminal so you can get on with your hectic travel day and not fight with the carousel crowds. Not to mention, baggage loss is skyrocketing, but these have a built-in ID tag so you can be quickly contacted if anything is lost. They’re the unsung hero of international travel and we can’t recommend them enough.

    luggage straps

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  • 10. Activated Charcoal

    My wife got sick with food poisoning once in Europe and we never leave it to chance now. These activated charcoal supplements are great to use at home and while traveling since they detoxify harmful pathogens that can make you very ill and distressed. It will stop traveler’s diarrhea in its tracks and help you feel better significantly faster.

    Activated Charcoal

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  • 11. Hanging Toiletry Bag

    The bathrooms in the UK have all sorts of slang nicknames (loo, water closet, bog, etc.), but regardless of what you call them – they’re small! European bathrooms are laughably petite and generally lack storage, so use this hanging toiletry bag to create storage out of thin air.

    It has 4 giant pockets that unfold after you hook it to any door or pole, creating a shelf-like system that organizes your products. It holds all of our family’s toiletries and prevents any shampoo explosions in your suitcase since everything is consolidated and sealed. We consider it our quintessential travel accessory and leave it packed with travel-sized toiletries so we can pick up and go at a moment’s notice!

    hanging toiletry bag

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  • 12. Quick-Dry Travel Towel

    The UK is a wet place – it rains a lot, it’s foggy, and it’s damp. So a travel towel is a great idea to keep everything dry. You don’t want to carry a fluffy, oversized towel from your hotel (if they even provide you with one!), and this smaller towel is the perfect size for staying on-the-go. It dries 10x faster than cotton and is very multi-purpose (sweat towel, beach towel, face washcloth, seat cover, packing cushions, etc.).

    Quick-Dry Travel Towel

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  • 13. Hangover Relief

    After long nights at the pub or Guinness brewhouses, you’ll likely need a little hangover relief. These supplements work great to detoxify alcohol from your system more quickly, so you’re not suffering through heavy and drawn-out hangovers. It uses vitamins and electrolytes to help you regain hydration and start each day feeling refreshed with a little pep in your step! Take one at the beginning of the night and one in the morning, it will absolutely help.

    Hangover Relief

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  • 14. TSA-Approved Luggage Locks

    Luggage locks offer a solid guarantee that no sticky fingers will rummage through your suitcase. We’ve had items stolen out of our checked luggage and there are long durations where you can’t keep an eye on your belongings. Bring a couple sets of these for city lockers, hotel lockers, backpacks when walking through crowded attractions prone to petty thieves, and of course, suitcases.

    TSA-Approved Luggage Locks

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  • 15. Filtered Water Bottle

    The tap water is decently clean in the UK, but you don’t want to get stuck buying plastic waste the whole trip (which can really add up!) Save money and maintain autonomy over your water supply by bringing a filtered water bottle. This one is affordable and will noticeably improve the taste of your water, even if the local system overly chlorinates it.

    Filtered Water Bottle

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  • 16. Pre-Paid Europe SIM Phone Card

    One of our favorite travel hacks is using a local SIM card. It will help you avoid those outrageous roaming charges and international fees since it gives you a UK phone number and puts you on the regional system. This card in particular will give you 10GB of data and 1K text messages (which should be more than enough for a normal trip). It’s a great way to live as the locals do and save money in the process!

    Pre-Paid Europe SIM Phone Card

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

uk power supply
UK power station near railway tracks

As one of the world’s wealthiest countries, the UK’s electrical infrastructure is among the best, and there aren’t any noticeable differences among England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Due to the strict regulations in place, electrical fires, surges, and shocks are uncommon.

Outside of severe storms, power outages are rare throughout the country, including in rural areas. However, depending on the deal that’s ultimately reached, Brexit may bring increased blackouts to the UK in the near future, especially in Northern Ireland.

Do I need a voltage converter for the UK?

You’ll need a US to UK voltage converter if you want to use devices that are rated below 220V; the other common range is 110V to 120V. In the US, devices in this range normally include irons, electric razors, hair dryers, and curling irons. Plugging these devices into a UK outlet without a transformer will most likely destroy them and may shock you or start a fire. If you aren’t sure whether a particular device needs a converter, check the tiny print on the plug.

Another option is to buy dual-voltage devices, which have a button to switch between 110/120V and 220/240V. You can also order travel-sized versions of these devices that are rated at 220/240V or purchase new ones in the UK.

Other FAQs about traveling in the United Kingdom

  • 1. When should I travel to the UK?

    Seasons in the UKSpring and fall are generally the best times of year to travel to the UK. Most of the country is relatively dry during these months (although it can rain anytime), and the temperatures are warm but not too hot. You’ll also avoid the higher prices and the crowds that come in the summer, especially if you go before May or after September. Be sure to check current UK travel advisories before you go.

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

    The weather throughout most of the UK is fairly temperate, with average highs in the 60s during the summer and average lows in the 30s during the winter. In general, Scotland tends to be a bit cooler and receives more snow than the rest of the country. Heavy snowfall is usually limited to the mountainous areas, but cloudy, drizzly days are common almost everywhere. It rains year-round in the UK, though the winter months are the wettest, and Scotland and Wales tend to see more rainfall than the other areas.

  • 3. What are some fun things to do in London?

    London Thames KayakA city of over eight million people and one of the world’s most beloved travel destinations, London has more than enough attractions to occupy visitors for weeks.

    Among the most iconic are, of course, Buckingham Palace and Big Ben, along with the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, and the London Eye.

    For art and history, check out some of the city’s many museums, like the National Gallery, the British Museum, or the Victoria and Albert Museum. Explore the Thames by kayak or cruise, or just stroll along its banks, and take some time to wander through interesting neighborhoods like Camden, Soho, and Shoreditch. And for some green space, head to Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, or Hampstead Heath.

    Check out Get Your Guide for discounted tours and the top excursions in the area.

  • 4. What should I see in the UK?

    The UK has many other cities to explore as well, including Bristol, Brighton, Liverpool, Edinburgh, and Glasgow. Beyond these major metropolises, there’s also the Canterbury Cathedral, the Roman baths in Bath, the White Cliffs of Dover, the ten-mile-long Lake Windermere, and, of course, the mysterious Stonehenge. Or, plan your visit around seeing the country’s many, many castles; some of the most impressive include Alnwick Castle, Edinburgh Castle, Carlisle Castle, Durham Castle, and Leeds Castle. There’s also fantastic hiking throughout the country; if you’re up for the challenge, tackle the 96-mile West Highland Way, an iconic thru-hike in Scotland.

  • 5. What’s the best way to get around in the UK?

    UK Transportation getting aroundLondon is famous for the Tube, which, along with its extensive bus routes, connects most of the city.

    Many of the UK’s other metropolitan areas also have well-developed public transportation systems, and Uber is also available in most towns as well.

    For intra-city travel, Britain is well-connected by train, and Northern Ireland has its own rail system. Numerous different train companies operate throughout Britain, but information for all of them is available at National Rail. Long-distance buses connect the country as well, offering a cheaper (but slower) option than the train. A road trip is also a great way to explore, and renting a car in the UK is fairly easy, although it can be costly. If you’re really in a hurry, cheap flights connect the country’s major cities.