Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Travel Adapters for Laos

In Laos, there are two plug standards: two-pronged (with and without ground pin) and twin-bladed (with and without ground pin). The item on right is a traveler's power strip which supports 120 and 220 volts.

In North America standard voltage for most electronic devices and appliances is 120 volts. When one ventures to places such as Europe and Asia (including Laos), the voltage standard is 220 volts. Plugs and the receptacles into which they are inserted vary from country to country.

Because of these differences in voltages and plug types, unless a product is specifically designed to function with multiple voltages, you are guaranteed to fry it. For a product which is only designed to function in North America, you would need a step-down transformer and a country-specific adapter plug  for it to work anywhere else in the world. Fortunately, all my electronic devices, such as my computer and camera gear, support multiple voltages. Therefore, I will only need to buy some adapter plugs at my local travel shop so that I can use my devices in Laos. Since there are two standards in Laos and  I don't know which one to expect, I am buying all of them just to be on the safe side.

In the rural regions of Laos, especially where I will be venturing, electricity is not widely available. Where it does exist, it is typically turned on only for short periods of time. For the times when I am based in Luang Prabang, I will have ready access to electricity, so I must make certain that all of my battery-operated devices are fully charged. Once I venture out into the field, I will most likely be gone for at least a couple of days at a time.

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