Making sure I have the right converter for the countries I’m visiting has just become a standard part of travelling.  I was lucky on my recent travels that all the countries I went to used the same plug, so I only had to take one converter.  I brought a beautiful lamp in Turkey that I need to alter the plug on so I can use it in Australia.  (Yes, I could buy a Turkey to Australia converter, but why bother finding one when I can just cut the old plug off and re-wire an Oz/NZ one on?)

I’ve never stopped to think about why countries have different shaped plugs, plugs with fuses, plugs without earths,or different voltages.  Luckily, someone else wondered about this, and has shared their infomation in an entertaining article at Gizmodo:

If you buy a phone charger at the airport in Florida, you won’t be able to use it when your flight lands in France. If you buy a three-pronged adapter for le portable in Paris, you might not be able to plug it in when your train drops you off in Germany.

And when your flight finally bounces to a stop on the runway in London, get ready to buy a comically large adapter to tap into the grid there. But that’s cool! You can take the same adapter to Singapore with you! And parts of Nigeria! Oh yeah, and if said charger doesn’t support 240v power natively, make sure you buy a converter, or else it might explode.



Basically, the best way to guess who’s got which socket is to brush up on your WW1/WW2 history, and to have a deep passion for postcolonial literature. No, really.

Read the rest of this fascinating article here.  (But while I get the WW1/WW2 connection, the relevance of postcolonial literature continues to evade me.)