Perhaps the two most handy devices for any international business traveler is a universal travel adapter and a laptop power adapter. Although some higher end hotels will have more than one type of power source in guest rooms, this is more of the exception than the rule.

In addition, most hotels may only have one power plug and most travelers will find themselves powering more than one type of electrical device at a time. And even though you can call down to the registration desk and request an extra international travel adapter or universal travel adapter, frequent travelers are already aware that most hotels only stock a limited number of adapters, and you could be out of luck.

So what should business travelers know about when it comes to travel adapters? First, it’s important to recognize that not all computers are designed to accept a universal travel adapter. Apple, for example, has a unique power cord that requires its own laptop power adapter/world travel adapter kit. This travel adapter kit costs about $40, and it’s important not to accidentally leave behind part of the set because plugs are not sold individually.

But for the rest of your electrical needs – and this pretty much accounts for the bulk of your power devices, travelers should bring at least one, preferably two, travel adapters per person with them that will work in the country being visited.

Depending on where travelers most frequently visit, most business travelers will do fine by purchasing one of the universal travel adapters that offer three interchangeable options, including North America, Europe, UK, Australia and Asia Pacific. And these adapter kits typically cost about $20-25.

Generally speaking, power devices used around the world come in the following shapes:

  • Three Prong Blades (UK, Hong Kong, Singapore)
  • Round Thin Pins ( Continental Europe)
  • Flat Parallel Blades with Holes (North America, Japan)
  • Flat Angled Blades (Australia, New Zealand)
  • Flat Parallel Blades without Holes (China)
  • Round Thick Pins (Korea)

The following provides a more detailed description as to which country uses which type of power plug:

EURO (round thin pins)
Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Austria, Azores, Balearic Islands, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Channel Islands, Chile, Comoros, Congo, Croatia, Dem. Rep. of Congo (Zaire), Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Cyrpus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Faeroe Islands, Finland, France, French Guiana, Gabon, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Greenland, Guadeloupe, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Isle of Man, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Madagascar, Madeira, Mali, Martinique, Mauritania, Mauritius, Monaco, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, Niger, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, St. Vincent, Senegal, Slovak, Somalia, Spain, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uruguay, Vietnam, Yugoslavia (former), Zambia.

UK (three prong blades)
Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belize, Botswana, Brunei, Cameroon, Channel Islands, China, Cyprus, Dominica, El Salvador, Gambia, Ghana, Gibraltar, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Hong Kong, Iraq, Ireland, Isle of Man, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Macau, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Tanzania, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

USA (flat parallel blades with holes)
American Samoa, Anguilla, Antigua, Aruba, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Cayman Islands, China (without holes in blades and slightly shorter blades), Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guam, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Japan, Laos, Lebanon, Liberia, Maldives, Micronesia, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Niger, Okinawa, Panama, Peru, Philippines.

AUS (flat angled blades)
American Samoa, Argentina*, Australia, China, El Salvador, Fiji, Guatemala, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Okinawa, Panama, Papua New Guinea, St. Vincent, Tajikistan, Tonga, Uruguay*.

* In Argentina and Uruguay, the neutral and active wires are reversed from what is used in other countries. UK EURO USA AUS 1698KTG – International Plug Adapter 33117 countries chart (round 1) 1.12.03

Source: Kensington Computer Products Group