How to charge American USB devices in the UK?
November 13, 2012 11:52 AM   Subscribe

Traveling to the U.K. in December for the very first time, coming from the U.S. -- What do I need to bring/purchase in order to keep my devices charged?

We will not be bringing any laptops or other large electronics, but we will have two iPads, two iPhones (that will remain in Airplane Mode for the duration of the trip), and a Kindle Fire. So basically, a bunch of USB powered devices. Should I just buy a simple outlet converter, or is there a better option to keep all of our devices charged up? We will be touring for two weeks, staying in hotels in London, Bath, Edinburgh, Cardiff, etc. and will never leave Great Britain during our stay.
posted by Lokheed to Travel & Transportation around Ellesmere, England (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Check the chargers for the things that you have. A lot of modern electronics converters cope with 100-240V (UK runs 240V). If the stuff you have runs on/can cope with 240V, then you only need bring a plug adaptor.

If not, then I'd just suggest getting one of these to cover everything:
posted by Brockles at 12:03 PM on November 13, 2012

I ran similar things off a converter I bought in a UK post office (they all have them). I think it was cheaper than the ones at the airport in the US.
posted by Muttoneer at 12:13 PM on November 13, 2012

Almost certainly the chargers for those gadgets you've listed can handle both 120v (US) and 240v (UK). In which case the only thing you'd need is the plug adapter to fit into the UK style outlets.
posted by dabug at 12:15 PM on November 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I can confirm that for the Apple devices all you will need is a plug converter like this. I assume the same is the case for the Fire.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:19 PM on November 13, 2012

All you need is an outlet adapter, or you can just buy a UK wall-to-USB adapter once you get there (like this) - easy peasy, available all over the place.

I usually travel with an outlet adapter and a small power strip, so that I can plug in multiple US-plug devices at a time (my camera, for instance, is not USB). The hub Brockles mentions might work, but be careful, not all of them put out enough power to charge multiple devices simultaneously, and some might not be able to charge an iPad at all.
posted by mskyle at 12:24 PM on November 13, 2012

Confirming that all you need is a converter/adapter that allows you to plug a US device into a UK wall socket. You do not need to change the voltage going into your devices, they can deal with anything you give them. I typically only bring two converters and just swap things around until everything is charged.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 1:57 PM on November 13, 2012

+1 for suggestions to bring a small power strip and a single US -> UK plug adapter.

I usually have a laptop, iPad, iPod, mobile phone, Kindle and camera with me, with 2-3 needing power at once. In your case, assuming daily use, for keeping those 4 devices topped up, I'd take 1 strip, 1 plug converter 2 Apple chargers and a kindle charger/micro-usb cable (my e-ink kindle can charge of an apple charger, not sure about Fire)
posted by tkbarbarian at 9:33 PM on November 13, 2012

Yep, we live in London but most of our computers are from the US, I'd echo everyone else and get a simple adaptor and a small travel strip, and you're good

Just as a rule of thumb, if what you're bringing has any mechanical moving parts, you might need a more serious adaptor, known as a step-down. Hair dryers, electric toothbrushes, printers, etc all blow up if you just plug them in through standard adaptor. Not that I've learned this through experience, or anything!
posted by lettezilla at 6:31 AM on November 14, 2012

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