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Review: The 3 Best Travel Adaptors / International Power Adaptors for Backpackers
In the modern world, every backpacker needs four major things:
- A passport
- Mobile phone
- Phone charger and
- The commonly forgotten, a universal travel adaptor.
These days, being able to charge tech devices when travelling is CRITICAL as you move around the globe. Especially, mobile phones which are frequently relied on to take and store photos, access wifi, store boarding passes and even record accommodation details.
For backpackers travelling overseas for the first time, the number of power socket configurations can be daunting!
I definitely know it was for me…
Your bag can also become an extreme and heavy mess if you try to purchase every single international travel adapter on the planet.
To help prepare for your next adventure, I have put together a detailed guide on the best travel adaptors for Australian backpackers.
Oh and if you’re not an Aussie, don’t worry! Many of the international adaptors we recommend can also be used by other nationalities too.
1) Why Do You Need an International Power Adaptor?
Put simply, an international power adaptor is a plug connector that allows a device from one country to be plugged into the wall outlet of another country.
They are often needed for any electrical device including:
An international power adaptor is one of the most important things to pack for a digital nomad.
2) What Travel Adaptors Do Australians Need When Overseas?
If you’re going to be travelling to multiple countries all over the world, it can be easy to make the mistake of buying multiple different adaptors for your journey. BUT, this can take up precious space in your backpack.
I personally made this mistake and found myself carrying 4-5 different travel adaptors throughout my trip. Although they did click together to save on space, I wish I’d known about the universal power adaptors.
That would have saved me a ton of pain!
A universal travel adaptor is one that has multiple adaptors in one, providing different options to suit where you’re travelling.
The most common international travel adaptors for Australians are:
- Type A
- Type G
- Type C
- Type I
Later, I will explain more about what this means and give you a breakdown of the various types of international power adaptors below.
UK & Europe Travel Adaptors
When travelling in Europe, you’ll need a 2-pronged Type C circular travel adaptor which is used extensively throughout the mainland content and also in the Eastern bloc and Russia.
Here is an example of what it looks like below:
Although once a part of the European Union, you will actually need a different adaptor when travelling in the United Kingdom (UK).
Rather than the Type C adaptor, you will need to use a Type G international travel adaptor which has 3 rectangular pins set in a triangular pattern.
In summary, the best travel adaptors for Australians in UK & Europe are:
- Type C travel adaptor for Europe.
- Type G travel adaptor for the UK.
UK & Europe international power adaptors are some of the most common and cheapest travel adaptors available so they are easy to get a hold of before and during your trip.
Asia International Travel Adaptors
Asia is one of the more complicated destinations in the world when it comes to travel adaptors as there are many different types of plug sockets used all over the South East Asia region, including within the individual countries themselves.
This can make things VERY confusing and inconvenient for the newbie traveller!
The best type of international travel adaptor to use for Asia is a universal travel adaptor that can adjust to the different plug sockets.
Because of this, you’ll want to look for something that has a combination of the:
- Type C 2-pronged Euro plugs (as shown above)
- Type G 3 Pin horizontal UK plugs (as shown above) and the
- Type A 2 flat pin US plugs.
Here is an example of the Type A 2 flat pin plug:
In addition to the plugs mentioned above, China actually uses the same Type I plug as we use in Australia. Excluding Taiwan. Therefore, if heading to China from Australia, you shouldn’t have much to worry about.
Getting a universal international travel adaptor, is the best way to ensure that you’re covered from all angles, no matter where in Asia you are.
Middle East Travel Adaptors
Much like Asia, the plug sockets in the Middle East vary a lot too.
If travelling to multiple countries in the Middle East, you will likely need one of the following:
- Type C 2-pronged Euro plug.
- Type G 3 rectangular pin UK plug.
- Type D 3-pronged old British plug (these are rarer).
Here is an example of the D 3-pronged British plug so you know what to look out for:
For the Middle East, I also recommend getting a universal international travel adaptor. I will outline some great options to check out at the end of this article.
Africa International Travel Adapters
Now if you thought that was a lot of power adaptors to carry, think again.
Welcome to Africa!
Due to the effect of colonisation on different parts of the continent, the power plug sockets vary even more extremely here.
The main type of plugs found in Africa are as follows:
- Type C 2-pronged Euro plug
- Type G 3 rectangular pin UK plug
- Type D 3-pronged old British plug
- Type M 3-pronged triangle plug
- Type N 3-pronged plug
Yep! If you’re planning on over-landing through Africa, this is a country that you must be prepared for.
After all, TIA – This is Africa!
It’s also not as easy to find or buy international travel adaptors in Africa, compared to some of your big Western countries. Therefore, I recommend buying any travel adaptors you need BEFORE you go.
If you’re just visiting to one country, then you may get away with one of these adapters. However, if travelling to multiple countries, you really can’t get anything more convenient than a universal international travel adaptor.
This will allow you to cover all bases when travelling through Africa.
The last thing you want is to get stuck with a phone with low battery and no where to plug it into to charge.
As mentioned, I’ll share some great value international power adaptors for Australians at the end of this article.
North, Central & South America Travel Adaptors
Given the Americas is broken up into multiple regions, there are a few plug options that may be relevant to your travels. To make things easier, we have broken them down by region so you can make the best choice when buying an international travel adaptor.
The main international travel adaptors that you’ll want to have in North America include the:
- Type A 2 flat pin plugs.
- Type B 3 pin plugs.
Central America uses the same Type A and Type B plugs as North America except for Belize which uses a Type G 3 rectangular pin UK plug.
South America is much like Asia and Africa with a varied range of plug sockets.
The most common plug types include:
- Type C 2-pronged Euro plug
- Type E 2 round pin plug
- Type F 2 round pin plug
Here’s some images below to demonstrate what the Type E and F plugs look like.
Argentina uses the same Type I/G plug type as Australia so you will not have to worry about finding an international power adaptor if you are visiting here!
For Australians, a universal international travel adaptor is the best choice for backpacking around the Americas due to the varied types of plug sockets available.
3) Where to Buy International Power Adaptors
International Travel Adaptors can usually be bought at most airports. For example, in a Newsagent or electrical store. However, although convenient, this can be the most expensive place to buy them though.\
As a solo backpacker, all your pennies count!
This is why it is always a better idea to do your research and purchase any international power adaptors you’ll need ahead of time.
Below I have compiled a list of the 3 best travel adaptors for Australians, that you can buy conveniently online. I have also done my research to help outline the pros and cons of each, so that you can decide which overseas power adapter is the best for your trip.
The ZGGCD/ Lencent adapter is a great all-in-one international power adapter for Australians, and other nationalities for that matter too.
Its electrical plugs are covered in over 150 countries while also giving you a fantastic level of device coverage.
Item Dimensions: 3.5 L x 2 W x 1.7 W (inches)
Plug Format Type: C
- An all-in-one universal travel adaptor that has 4 retractable plugs for Type A, G, I and C plug types
- Comes with 4 USB slots and a universal outlet so you can charge multiple devices at once
- Safety certified and includes a 100 to 240 voltage range. This makes it compatible with most countries’ voltage range.
- Does not support high power appliances like hair straighteners or dryers, kettles and clothes irons.
- The adaptor does not convert voltage. You MUST make sure that your device supports local voltage.
- A little bulkier than other travel adaptors on the market
In summary, the ZGGCD is a great all-rounder travel adaptor that will cover you for the most frequently used plug types globally.
Its ability to charge up to 5 devices means that you won’t have to wait hours for each of your individual devices to charge up, and you can also recharge on the go if you need to.
If you’d like to check out some reviews of the ZGGCD international power adaptor, you can view it on Amazon below:
The Mingtong travel adaptor is a cheaper alternative for those with a small budget. It provides a great range of plug types and is light-weight to carry. This comes in handy when carrying everything on your back!
Item Dimensions: 3 L x 1.5 W x 1.9 H (inches)
Plug Format Type: G
- A universal travel adaptor that features 4 retractable plugs for Type A, G, I and C plug types.
- Comes with 2 USB sockets and one universal plug socket so you can charge 3 devices simultaneously.
- Includes built-in fuse protection and safety shutter features which are great at protecting you when using unfamiliar plugs.
- Only works for low power electric appliances, such as mobile phones and does not work for high power items like hair irons or kettles.
- Does not include voltage conversion. This means that if you have 110 voltage items in a country with a 240-voltage network, you MUST check that your appliance is 110v-240v universal. If not, the plug can cause an electric shortage.
- Some buyers have complained that is incompatible with some older plug socket types due to sizing issues.
The Mingtong universal travel adaptor is one of the cheapest power adaptors available.
Even though it has received negative reviews from some, it provides a useful range of compatible plug socket types and you can feel confident that you’ll be safe when using it.
If you’d like to read some reviews or learn more about the Mingtong Travel Adaptor, you can view it on Amazon below.
A fantastic international power adapter that is slim and easy to pack, making it perfect for the minimalist traveller on the move.
Item Dimensions: 2.5 L x 2 W x 2 H (inches)
Plug Format Type C
- Features 4 retractable plugs for Type A, G, I and C plug types and 3 USB ports plus a USB-C Port.
- Has built-in ceramic fuse and surge protection technology that prevents blowouts and also includes flame retardant material to prevent fire risk.
- Comes with a smart IC chip that can match the charging current of your devices automatically and offers the fastest and safest way to charge.
- Does not include voltage conversion technology so you will have to check your appliance voltage ratios before using it.
- Not compatible with high power items like hair dryers or clothes irons and designed only for electronic devices.
- Includes a blue power light which can be disruptive when trying to darken a room.
This international travel adaptor is great because of its slim design and impressive safety features. It is by far one of the best travel adaptors for Australians to have with them when travelling overseas.
3 Best Universal Travel Adaptors for Backpackers in 2022
It’s no doubt that finding the right international power adaptor to suit your travel destination can be confusing… especially if a newbie traveller.
In this article, I have explained the benefits of travel adaptors and explored some of the best travel adaptors for Australians to use when overseas, with a particular focus on those that are universal (have multiple prong configurations to suit various countries).
With any one of the three international travel adaptors mentioned, you will be able to keep your electronics charged no matter where in the world you are. It will also help you save time, money and space in your luggage.
Please, take my advice and avoid the pain of carrying more than one adaptor with you, especially if travelling for a long time or to multiple destinations across the world.
I‘ve definitely learnt that lesson the hard way.
Happy travelling fellow adventurers!