One must-have item before you travel overseas is the right adapter or converter. Most countries outside of North America are on a different electricity standard, which requires the use of an adapter/converter. Buying one can seem confusing, maybe even overwhelming at first, but with this handy guide you will be on your way with everything you need.
The first question is what country or countries are you going to. North America, most of the Caribbean and Central America, and Japan use our plugs so if that is your destination then most likely you don’t need anything at all. However, the rest of the world has different sized plugs and/or different voltage than the United States so you will have to look up the standard of the country you will be visiting. Most travel agents or hotels will be happy to provide you with this information, and Lewis & Clark publishes a handy guide. Be careful though, some countries have more than one standard so you might have to get several types of adapters
Small electronics, such as phones, tablets, and e-readers only need adapters, as well as most camera batter chargers and shavers. Laptop computers also only need adapters, but those should be grounded. Hair appliances are a different story though. Some are duo-voltage, but many still are not. Most hotels now have hairdryers and if you usually use a hair curler or straightener maybe consider a hair style for your trip that will not require the use of one (hats always work). If you still feel the need to take one the next step is to determine both the voltage and wattage of your device. It will be on the device usually on the handle or inside. When you get your converter make sure the wattage of your device works with your converter. If you are using more than one item I recommend a high-low converter.
Once you know what you need then it is time to choose what adapter and/or converter you wish to purchase. Most people will be fine with a single use adapter. They are the easiest to use and the least expensive. There are also kits available that contain adapters for all over the world or both the adapter and the converter. One other choice is a device that has all the adapters or adapter/converter in one. These tend to be the most expensive and might not work with grounded items (or even in all countries).
If you are still not sure what you need after all this then going to your local travel store (such as Irv’s Luggage) might be a good idea. They are the experts and deal with these questions all day long. I often tell people to bring what they are planning to take with them so I can see what they need and not just guessing. This is the surefire way to make sure you are not stuck with a wrong plug or even worse a burned out appliance.