What did we ever do before we had computers? Like seriously, I can't remember. I travel with my phone, my iPad, my Kindle Paperwhite, and my laptop. Then there's the flat iron, my camera battery... and probably a few other things I'm forgetting. Who needs all of that? (Obviously, I do!)
We, as a society, are addicted to our electronic gadgets and other items which need to be charged or connected to a power source. And that makes traveling overseas a bit of a challenge, because not all power plugs are created equal. Traveling to Europe and many other places outside of the U.S. requires an adapter, and sometimes a converter. What's the difference, you ask? An adapter simply changes the plug configuration (getting past the literal square peg round hole issue), while a converter actually changes the nature of the current running to the gadget (110, 220, whatever it takes). In the U.S. we use a flat rectangular 2 pin, ungrounded, 100-127 volts. Unless of course we're using a a 3 pin (2 flat rectangular and 1 rounded), grounded, 100-127 volts. But here in France, they use rounded 2 pin, grounded, 220-240 voltage. Our plugs will not fit in their electrical sockets, and the current flowing through the lines is quite different.
(Ever wonder why that big, rectangle sits in the middle of your laptop's power cord? It's a dual-voltage converter, so all you need is an adaptor to change the plug configuration.)
Knowing we were going to be gone a long time, we picked up an adapter/converter combo. Just the one, so we'd have to share, but good enough for two people traveling light. The first couple days in France, everything was good. Our devices were charging and working as expected, allowing us to charge our phones (and anything else with a USB port) over night.
But on the third day, catastrophe hit (OK, that might be overstating that just a bit). I plugged in my flat iron, and the little blue light that tells me power is flowing properly slowly dimmed and then went out completely. I thought maybe the cord+adapter combination was too heavy and was pulling out of the wall socket, so I pushed it in. No response from the pretty blue light I so wanted to see. I tried a different socket. Nope, no luck. I called to Evo to come take a look. He repeated pretty much the same thing. Verdict: It seems the flat iron may have been a bit much for the converter.
At least we didn't burn it out. The downside is that I can't use my flat iron. Not the end of the world, although I now need to make sure each house we sit has a blow dryer I can use since I didn't bring one and was just going to use my flat iron on my bangs ... and now I have nothing!
First world house sitting problems, to be sure.