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Traveling abroad is exciting as it often means countless photographic opportunities that you can share with friends and family. Visiting foreign lands overseas with your camera or any electronic equipment however has some considerations that must be taken into account. The most fundamental consideration is powering your gear (including your camera, rechargeable batteries, laptop, flash, and other accessories).
Photo by gwire
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The main potential for incompatibility between power adapters and chargers bought in the US are the input voltage. Appliances in the US use 110 V plus or minus 10%. In the United Kingdom and Europe, 200 to 240 V are common. Throughout Asia (China, Hong Kong, Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam), 220 V is standard. To be sure, check this page before you leave. To be safe, check the label on the side or back of your power adapter (large brick or black box) to see the input voltage it accepts. Most electronics (laptops and camera battery chargers) take 100-240 V which means wherever you travel in the world, you will be just fine! If your device is limited to 100-120V, then plugging it into a higher voltage outlet will fry your adapter. If you own such an adapter, look online, local stores, or contact the manufacturer for an adapter that will accept a wider range of voltages so that you can use it abroad. Another way of getting around these voltage requirements require a “step-down" or “step-up" voltage converter. Step-down voltage converters are used for stepping down UK’s 220 V outlets to that of 110 V (US outlets). Step-up voltages do the opposite allowing you to use UK equipment in the US (by increasing the voltage).
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Once you have established that your adapter will accept the voltage of the electrical outlets where you are visiting, you must find a way to plug your two (or three) pronged device into the wall outlet. This can be easily achieved by finding the right wall adapter. These can be found at local electronic stores and online and come in variety of prongs for world travel. See the picture above for an example of the prongs found in different countries. Many specifically designed “travel chargers" even come with four prongs to allow you to use your device at home in the US, UK, EU, and Australia (AU).
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Another tip for keeping you powered on the go is having extra batteries and planning a day ahead. It pays to have power when you need it and you should not miss a shot just because you were caught on a dead battery on a long day of shooting. That is the last thing you want on a once in a lifetime opportunity. Always have a spare and keep it charged!