In the modern world, every backpacker needs four major things:

  • A passport
  • Mobile phone
  • Phone charger and
  • The commonly forgotten, an international 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 adaptor 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) What is an International Travel 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 needed to charge any electrical device overseas including:

  • Smartphones
  • Laptops
  • Cameras
  • Apple watches etc

Given there’s at least 15 different types of power sockets used around the world, an international power adaptor is one of the most important things a backpacker can pack.

It is ultimately the life source of the digital world.

My favourite range of international travel adaptors for Australians is under the Lencent brand. I find their adaptors to be easy to use, reliable, good quality and they have many modern designs to suit different needs. 

They also come with a little protective case which is quite handy. Many other brands do not.

Image of various individual and universal power adaptors of different brands

 

2) What to Consider Before Buying a Travel Adaptor

Before buying an international travel adaptor, there are a few important things to consider – especially if you want to avoid many of the issues I’ve had in the past.

Some of which include:

  1. Travel adaptors that don’t fit properly into the socket they’re designed for – either too tight (making it near impossible to insert or remove them) or too loose (they constantly fall out when you’re trying to charge) – my ultimate pet peeve.
  2. Travel adapters that block nearby outlets or even the switch next to the one you’re trying to use – preventing you from charging multiple devices at the one time.
  3. Multi-USB adapters that don’t have enough power to charge more than one device at the same time
  4. Travel adaptors which have a small light on them – which completely defies the whole point of charging your devices overnight as you sleep.
  5. Whether you’re better off buying a single or universal travel adaptor – I’ll cover this off in the next section.
  6. The plug voltage at your destination

I must admit, I’m super sensitive to ANY light when sleeping (just ask Matt, my partner), so the 4th point truly drives me nuts. Like honestly, do I really need a “night light” as an adult backpacker overseas?

Actually, just thinking, maybe I do…. given my tendency of walking into walls when trying to go to the bathroom at night. 🤪  But. that’s not the point.

 



 

3) The Importance of Voltage

As mentioned above, voltage is one of the most important things to confirm before buying your international power adaptor.

Most adaptors don’t have the capability to convert voltage, so it’s important to know what voltage you’re plugging your valuable tech devices into – to ensure you don’t accidentally blow them up!  

Here’s some voltage examples:

  • 220-240V – Australia, UK, Europe, China and most other countries
  • 120V – US & North America
  • 100V – Japan

You can also visit this link for a complete list of voltages in each country around the world.

For the most part, using a lower voltage compared to your home country isn’t going to be a huge issue. The most probable result is that your devices may charge more slowly compared to what you’re used to back home.

Obviously, I’m no electrician, but from what I’m aware – if the voltage is higher than your home country, you’ll likely need to buy a device that can assist as a converter between the power sources, alongside your travel adaptor.

For example, North American devices are designed to function with a lower electrical voltage (110/120V) compared to devices from most other parts of the world (220/240V). So if you’re not aware of this fact and plug your lower voltage device/adaptor into a higher-voltage source,  it can be an easy way to immediately blow out your electrical devices.

Luckily for us Australians, our devices are used to operating at one of the highest voltages (240V), so I haven’t had much issues with this in the past when I’ve travelled. But, it’s always better to be safe and tuned in, than sorry.

If you’re from the US or a country that has a lower voltage (eg. 100-120V), here are some good voltage converters to check out.

 

Popular voltage converters available online:

 

3) Where to Buy Travel Adaptors

Travel adaptors can be bought both online and in person.

The most common ways to buy in person are at the airport (usually the most expensive option) or at most adventure / travel stores. If you wait to buy your adaptors in your target destination, you may find a shock with adaptors being hard to find and expensive to buy in some countries.

Given all you pennies count as a backpacker, my recommendation is to do your research and purchase any power adaptors you’ll need ahead of time. This is why buying online before you trip is usually the best option – and typically my preferred one. 

It also means presents you with more options and the best travel adaptors globally, which you mightn’t have access to in-store.

 



 

4) Single vs. Universal Travel Adaptors

Before going out and just buying “any” international power adaptor, you’re going to need to decide whether a single or universal travel adaptor is going to be best suited to your needs, and where you’re travelling.

A “universal” adapter can be extremely handy because it will work in multiple countries around the world, however a single-plug adaptor can be handy if only travelling to one specific country or region.

 

Single Travel Adaptors

Although pretty boring, basic, and often without many of the extra features universal adaptors provide, individual travel adaptors do have their place in the “travel adaptor sphere”.

As highlighted below, they can offer backpackers some benefits, but mainly when travelling to one location / region.

Pros:

  • Usually smaller and lighter than universal adaptors
  • Tend to be a cheaper option if you don’t need all the extra functionality, bells and whistles
  • Usually easy to find in your home country or buy online

Cons:

  • Tend to be very basic
  • Need to buy multiple individual adaptors to suit every country/region you’re visiting (if they have different power sockets)
  • Don’t often come with any USB inputs – this can be highly inconvenient if you have devices that rely on a USB-A or USB-C input
  • They take up more space in your luggage/backpack
  • Easy to loose when trying to keep track of all the different ones you’ve packed

 

Popular individual adaptors available online:

 

image of 4 white and black individual travel adaptors

 

Universal Travel Adaptors

Compared to single travel adaptors, universal adapters contain multiple adaptors within the one housing. This means that they can be used in a much wider range of contexts, countries and regions.

The best universal travel adaptors feature sets of retractable metal prongs that fit the four most common plug types around the world:

  • Type A (North America and parts of Asia)
  • Type C (much of Europe and parts of Asia)
  • Type G (UK, Ireland, Hong Kong, and a few other countries), and
  • Type I (Oceania)

I’ll explore each of these in more detail below.

However, despite what the name suggests, do keep in mind that it’s very rare for any universal adaptors to be 100% global – ie. suiting EVERY single socket all over the world. Instead, they typically accommodate around 150 countries.

Pros:

  • They help you save space in your backpack/luggage – given you don’t need to carry numerous adaptors for every location within your trip.
  • The best universal travel adaptors come with USB inputs as well as standard power ports – with options available to suit USB-A or a USB-C inputs
  • They are usually easy to find in your home country or buy online
  • Some have built-in safety features to help reduce the impact of power surges

Cons:

  • They’re typically larger and heavier than your individual adaptors – however I have noticed that they seem to be getting smaller and more compact over the years.
  • The larger size can block adjoining sockets, press against the switch or even cause the whole adaptor to fall out of the wall/plug  – which can be a bit frustrating at times.
  • They tend to be more expensive – however this does depend on where you buy them (eg. airport vs online)

If you’re going to be travelling to multiple countries all over the world, I’d recommend opting for a universal travel adaptor over a multitude of single ones.

Even if you’re unlikely to use all of the adaptors on one trip, I promise there will be future opportunity to do so AND it’s usually better value for money.

Our Top Recommended Universal Adaptors: (Full product review below)

Personally, I really love the Lencent brand of adaptors. As mentioned above, they offer a great range of both individual and universal travel adaptors for Australians.

But there are many other great brands as well that you can find online. Some of these Ive listed below.

  1. Lencent Universal Travel Adapter
  2. Newvanga Universal Travel Adaptor 
  3. EPICKA Universal Travel Adapter
  4. Saunorch / Disgian Universal Travel Adaptor 

 

image of 4 white and black universal travel adaptors

 

4) What Types of Travel Adaptors Do Australians Need?

The most common international travel adaptors for Australians are: 

  • Type A
  • Type B
  • Type C
  • Type E
  • Type G
  • Type I 

Here’s a brief summary of which adapters you’ll likely need, based on their destination you’re planning to go to. 

 

UK & Europe Travel Adaptors 

When travelling in Europe, you’ll need a 2-pronged Type C circular travel adaptor which is used extensively throughout mainland Europe and also in the Eastern and Russian sections. 

Here’s an example of what it looks like below:

Type C International Travel Adapter

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. 

See below:

Type G International Travel Adapter for Australians

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 and 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:

Type C International Travel AdapterType G International Travel Adapter for AustraliansType A International Travel AdapterType 1 International Travel Adapter

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:

Type C International Travel AdapterType G International Travel Adapter for AustraliansType D International Travel Adaptor

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

Type C International Travel AdapterType G International Travel Adapter for AustraliansType D International Travel AdaptorTYPE M Adaptor - AfricaTYPE N Adaptor - Africa

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. 

 

North America 

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. 

Type A International Travel Adapter Type B Travel Adaptor for Australians

Central America 

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.

Type G International Travel Adapter for Australians

 

South America 

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. 

Type C International Travel AdapterType E/F International Travel Adapter for Australians

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.  

 



 

5) Product Review: Best Universal Travel Adaptors

Below I have compiled a list of the 4 best universal travel adaptors for Australians, that you can buy conveniently online. I’ve 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. 

 

1) Lencent Universal Travel Adapter

Lencent Universal Travel Adapter

The Lencent travel adaptor 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. 

Throughout my years of travel I’ve owned two Lencent universal travel adaptors and they’ve been great, giving me no issues. In my opinion, this brand offers some of the best travel adaptors out there online. Reliable, compact and easy to use.

  • Item Dimensions:  8.8 x 5 x 4.3 centimeters
  • Plug Format Type: Type C
  • Input Voltage Range: 100 to 240V

 

Pros 

  • 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 up to 5 devices at once
  • Safety certified and includes a 100 to 240 voltage range. This makes it compatible with most countries’ voltage. 

Cons 

  • 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 touch bulkier than other travel adaptors on the market

In summary, the Lencent universal travel adaptor 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 Lencent travel adaptor, you can view it on Amazon below: 

View on Amazon (AUS)View on Amazon (Global) 

 

2) Newvanga Universal Travel Adaptor 

N/A

Depending on where you’re located, the Newvanga travel adaptor is another good alternative. 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: 7.6 x 3.8 x 4.8 centimetres
  • Plug Format Type: Type G
  • Input Voltage Range: 110 to 240V

Pros 

  • This highly rated universal travel adaptor features 4 retractable plugs for Type A, G, I and C plug types. 
  • It comes with 2 USB sockets and one universal plug socket so you can charge 3 devices simultaneously. 
  • It includes built-in fuse protection and safety shutter features which are great at protecting you when using unfamiliar plugs. 
  • It also comes in a range of different black and white colours

Cons 

  • 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.

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 Newvanga Travel Adaptor, you can view it on Amazon below.  

View on Amazon (Aus) View on Amazon (Global)

 

3) Epika Universal Travel Power Adapter

N/A

The Epika universal power adaptor is another brand that is frequently recommended by travellers, with many including it within their list of best universal travel adaptors.

I still personally prefer the Lencent universal travel adaptor, but this one does offer a cool rose gold option, which is great for the pink-loving ladies out there.

  • Item Dimensions: 7.11 x 5 x 5.21 centimetres
  • Plug Format:  Type C
  • Input Voltage Range: 100-240V

 

Pros

  • An all-in-one adapter includes 4 different plugs that cover over 150 countries
  • Can charge 6 devices at the one time
  • Features USB-A and USB-C charging ports
  • Equipped with safety features including a built-in 8A fuse, safety shutters and plug lock system. It is also certified by RoHS, CE, and FCC, ensuring its safety and reliability.
  • They provide a 30 days money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Does not convert voltage
  • May not be suitable for use with high-power appliances

View on Amazon (AUS) View on Amazon (Global)

 

4) Saunorch / Disgian Universal Travel Adaptor 

N/A

A fantastic international power adapter that is slim and easy to pack, making it perfect for the minimalist traveller on the move.

  • Item Dimensions: 6.4 x 5 x 5 centimeters  
  • Plug Format Type: Type C
  • Input Voltage Range: 100-240V

Pros 

  • 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. 
  • Comes in a range of different colours, including a vibrant blue and green.

Cons 

  • 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.  

View on Amazon (AUS) View on Amazon (Global)

 

Related Articles:

 

 

In Summary:

4 Best Individual and Universal Travel Adaptors for Backpackers

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. Here’s a summary of our top recommended products.

Best Universal Travel Adaptors:

  1. Lencent Universal Travel Adapter
  2. Newvanga Universal Travel Adaptor 
  3. Saunorch / Disgian Universal Travel Adaptor 
  4. Epika Universal Travel Power Adapter

 Best Individual Travel Adaptors:

As mentioned above, my favourite brand of international travel adaptors for Australians is Lencent.

I find their adaptors to be easy to use, reliable, good quality and they have many modern designs to suit different needs. They also come with a little protective case as well which helps to protect your adaptor when travelling between destinations.

If you’re keen to avoid the pain of carrying more than one travel adaptor with you (which is the case for me), then take my advice and go for a universal adapter.

I hope you’ve found this article helpful.

Happy travelling fellow adventurers!

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best travel adapter brand?

The best travel adapter brand is subjective, but popular and reliable options for backpackers include Lencent, Epicka, Newvanga and the Saunorch Universal Travel Adaptor.

What is the difference between a travel adapter and a power adapter?

A travel adapter is designed to fit different plug configurations, allowing your devices to connect to various outlets worldwide.

A power adapter, on the other hand, may include voltage conversion capabilities, ensuring your electronic devices work seamlessly in regions with different voltage standards.

Travel adapters are primarily for plug compatibility, while power adapters typically handle both plug and voltage requirements.



We independently evaluate all recommended products and services, and may earn a commission from purchases made after clicking links on this site. Learn more

Profile Image: Ashleigh - Adventure Travel Pro

Hey guys, I'm Ash. Welcome to Adventure Travel Pro!

As a seasoned traveller, I love sharing knowledge, advice and inspiration for newbie travellers and thrill seekers seeking their next adventure of a lifetime.

You can learn more about my story here, or get started right away with our FREE Solo Travel Starter Pack & Video Series. In this pack, I provide insights into what you must know and consider before booking your first solo trip overseas.

I hope you enjoy our site!

Follow us on:

Get Your FREE Solo Travel Starter Pack
Get Your FREE Solo Travel Starter Pack