Over the past decade, electrical adapters have easily become one of the more important items you'll choose to travel with. Back when travelers weren't lugging around laptops and tablets and phones and SLRs, power sockets didn't hold much importance. These days, the best-rated hostels have power sockets for every bed and every traveler has a need for them.
The best international electrical adapters contain several features: they have a surge protector, they work in every country you're going to be traveling to, they're small and lightweight, they don't fall out of the power sockets, and they're easy to use. Not all adapters are built the same.
The Best International Electrical Adapter
The MAXAH Universal Travel Plug Adapter is the best we've used. It covers 150 countries (it won't help if you're traveling in South Africa, unfortunately), it's compact and lightweight, it's inexpensive for a travel adapter, and it's built with a universal input, accepting both non-grounded and grounded plugs.
Quite simply, it has everything you could possibly need from a travel adapter it doesn't break easily, either.
An In-Depth Review
Why do you need an electrical adapter? An adapter allows a dual voltage appliance, converter, or transformer to be plugged into a wall outlet that is different from the pin configuration on the appliance, converter, or transformer. It gets more complicated because different countries require different adapters. You could buy individual adapters, like one that plugs into European walls and accepts American devices, but it's much easier to buy an all-in-one solution that will cover you for the majority of your upcoming trips.
Rather than puzzle out which adapter you'll need, just buy the MAXAH Universal Travel Plug Adapter -- it has four adapters folded neatly into one unit and it works across Europe, Southeast Asia, East Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the South Pacific.
It could hardly be easier to use this adapter, so you'll be able to take it out of the box and plug it into the wall in seconds. Instructions show you which of the four plugs to pop out for different countries and after you lose the instructions, you'll find parts of the world printed on the plug adapter itself for:
And that's it! Simply plug it into the power socket, plug your device into the adapter, and you're ready to go.
Are there any downsides? The only one we've come across is that the European plug isn't as secure as it could be. It's quite a loose fit in some of the power sockets used, meaning that a slight brush of the cable can cause the adapter to fall from the wall. This is rare, though, and is more about the varying sizes of European sockets than the adapter itself.
Why Do You Need a Surge Protector?
You need a surge protector to keep your technology safe when you're plugging it in in developing countries where the electricity can be iffy. You don't want to end up with destroyed laptops and phones due to random surges in places in Southeast Asia and Latin America. It's better to be safe than sorry.
This article was edited and updated by Lauren Juliff.