Travel Hack – Power Adaptors

Travel Hack – Power Adaptors

Wouldn’t it be so much simpler if the world could just coordinate? All drive on the same side of the road? Stick with the same weights and measures? Agree on the degrees? How about Electricity? Wouldn’t it be great if every socket and plug just matched, and the voltage was the same?

Hack This Powerboard

Alas, we live in a complex world that has evolved naturally over millions of years, and over hundreds from an Industrial Revolution perspective, and each part of the world has its own set of standards.

We’ve probably all see the good old Universal Power Adaptor. The best ones come with plugs for Europe, UK, US & Australia, and some are clever enough to switch voltage between 110V & 230V. You usually need to pick these up in the country of origin, and they can be rather bulky. The ones that regulate voltage are also quite expensive. This type of adaptor allows you to plug your device in just about anywhere.

A second alternative is to pick up a Visitors Adaptor at your travel destination. These types of adaptors fit sockets in the country you are in, and usually allow multiple countries to plug into them. They can usually be found pretty cheap, but don’t often switch voltage. The advantage of these adaptors is that you can afford to grab a handful at the $2 shop, but the disadvantage is they will be little use at your next destination, if that’s abroad. But hey, chuck them in the drawer of the last rental – you’ll make another travellers day.

But, my favourite power adaptor is a modified powerboard. This one is the cheapest by far, and the most versatile. We always travel with a 4 or 6 outlet powerboard. All of our gear is Australian, so we have the Australian version. In Ireland, the sockets are the UK version, so I simply fitted a UK plug to the Australian powerboard when we arrived. I picked up the plug from Tesco for under €2 and it took only a few minutes to fit. The result – four Aussie outlets!

Now, I will admit that this modification isn’t for everyone. It does require the confidence to cut off the existing plug and replace it by stripping the wires, and joining them to the new plug.

There are laws in many nations, which mean an Electrical Licence is required to make electrical modifications or repairs, however, it is perfectly legal to DIY a plug in Ireland.

For those who want to have a go at this, it really is very simple. Some of you may have already done this and others might say, hey, that’s a great idea, but I think I might pay a professional to do it for me – you might find a nice tradie who will do it for a pint, if you catch him on the right day!

So for those sticking with me, this is how to change the plug on an Australian powerboard, so it can be plugged directly into a UK/Irish socket.

It’s worth noting – Voltages vary from nation to nation, so this is something to consider. This map shows the different voltages around the world. This hack doesn’t change the voltage in anyway, but if you live in the blue area, there is a whole lot of the world where this works.


So, I’m interested to know… Is this something you’ve done, or would consider doing? Or do you just think I’m a crazy fool? Crazy fool is an acceptable answer…

5 thoughts on “Travel Hack – Power Adaptors

  1. We always take a power board, with four outlets, and the corresponding adaptor for the country we’re travelling to, then just plug the adaptor into the power board, and plug it in to the mains socket where we are, similar to you but without the extra work of changing wiring!

  2. Cool post! Not sure I’m ready to do my own electrical work, but bringing a powerboard and travel adaptor on the trip is a good idea! I found some interesting info on why there are so many different sockets around the world at — they also have a tool for identifying the adaptor you need, depending on your origin and destination.

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