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Finding magic under the stars of the Camino Santiago de Compostela

Saturday, April 09, 2016

"Plugging In" while on the Camino

On Facebook, there has been some confusion about whether or not you need a voltage converter on the Camino, or whether a simple plug adaptor will work.

Here is a quick lesson on plugging in on the Camino.


Different countries use different voltages and frequencies of electricity. If you plug your American device that is not rated for the outlet's voltage, even if the plug fits, you could damage the device.

Electrical sockets in the United Stages usually supply electricity at between 110 and 120 volts.

Spain, France and Portugal, where most pilgrims walk have sockets that supply electricity at 220 volts, much higher than ours.

Almost all chargers for phones, laptops, and tablets are dual voltage. You can find out by looking closely at the plug. For instance, ALL Apple devices are dual voltage. Here is a photo of mine. If you look closely you will see it states "INPUT 100-240V."

Rated between 100-240

The ones above state they are rated between 100-240.This means it will also work for any voltage between those two. So it will work for 100 volts and it will also work for 220 volts.

If your device is rated for use within the voltage of the country you are visiting, then all you need is a plug adapter shaped like the receptacle in that country.

The United States has plug receptacles shaped like this:

or this if the receptacle is grounded:

Spain uses a receptacle and plug like the one below:

France's receptacles have a "ground prong,"

but it is safe to bypass it with the same adapter you use in Spain:

Plug adapter for Spain

If your device does NOT automatically convert the voltage, then you will need a voltage converter similar to the ones below. But I promise you, not many people will be using hair dryers or curling irons on the Camino:

You can purchase the plugs from the Rick Steves Travel Store for $1.
That's right, ONE DOLLAR so don't go spending a bundle. Click on this link:


Be very careful when purchasing a voltage converter. You will need to know specifically what voltage your appliance uses. You don't want to blow up your older laptop or tablet. Check to be sure what voltage you will need to convert to.

Hair dryers and curling irons need a higher voltage converter than some items, and it's almost cheaper just to buy a small travel version like these from Amazon that already have dual voltage built in:

Dual voltage travel hair dryer

Travel curling iron

I hope this helps you understand what you need.

Bottom line, unless you are planning on taking a very old appliance, all you most likely need is a plug adapter. These can be purchased on Amazon, on the Rick Steves website, at any travel store, and in China Stores and other stores all along the Camino.  They're cheap so buy two. People are ALWAYS forgetting to unplug them when they're finished using them.

Buen Camino!

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