Italian Adapters, Converters & Voltage (AKA: The Flat Iron Dilemma)

Written by Annette White

Topics: BY DESTINATION., Europe, Italy

high voltage travel flat ironMy search for Italian adapters.

The thought of traveling to a high humidity country without a flat iron is not only terrifying, but not an option! It's #2 on my list of things to bring with me on my trip to Northern Italy, right after my camera. I don't have super-curly hair, but wavy enough to warrant a 72-hour, 13 website & 3 beauty store quest to find out how to get my flat iron to work on my vacation.

Confusion quickly set in; did I need an adapter or converter? Would the heating element produce the same temperatures? What if I bought the wrong italian adapters, would it cause a fire? Or would it fry my hair? Oh…the can of worms vanity will open!

There are two issues with getting your American electrical products to work in Italy. First, the US electricity is 110V, whereas Italy's is a 220V. Some American appliances are designed to run just 110V while others can run both 110V & 220V. You can determine this by checking the voltage stamp which is usually located on your appliance. Some will just say 110V, while others will say 110V-220V. Bingo! Secondly, their outlets use a differently designed plug, that looks nothing like the ones in the US.

An adapter simply changes your American plug into a round 3-prong Italian style plug so it will fit into the wall socket. It does not change voltage! So, if your appliance is only set up to work on 110V, an adapter will not change the voltage for it to work on 220V (you would need a converter to do that).

If your appliance is only set up to work on 110V, and you are determined to bring it to Italy, you will need to purchase a converter. This device will change your 110V product to work on 220V, but it will cost you! You should weigh the price difference between purchasing a converter or just buying a new "dual voltage" product.

My flat iron was only set up to work on 110V, so my options were to either purchase a converter or purchase a "dual voltage" flat iron. A dual voltage device will allow me to use it with just one of the Italian adapters. After much deliberation, I chose to search for a new flat iron. I ended up buying a Conair Pro 1" White Bird for $25 on Ebay. It is full size, though it's thin style makes it more compact than the one I already have.

Another minor dillema was what I would need to use and charge my IPhone in Italy. I have been assured that the IPhone is set up as a "dual volatage" device and all I that is necessary is one of the Italian adapters. But, you can also use your car charger since the car sockets are the same.

If you plan on using your phone to make and receive calls, call your provider to sign up for a discounted International rate. If you plan on "really" taking a vacation and do not want to be contacted while sipping vino on the veranda, do the following: turn your phone to airplane mode, this will stop all text messages and phone messages from coming in. While in airplane mode, you can turn your Wi-Fi back on so it can be used in internet cafes or other Wi-Fi hotspots. You can also turn network data roaming off and this will turn the data plan off so even emails won't come through! Perfecto!!


I ended up purchasing these two Italian adapters:
International Travel Grounded Adapter Plug ($2.95), this adapter will accept a 3-prong flat American plug

Plug Adapter for USA Flat ($4.26), this one works with a 2-prong flat American plug



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8 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Cy says:

    Hi…have been visiting your website for a few months now….

    Anyways…I travel overseas a lot and have had similar dilemmas.  Yes apple chargers are dual voltage.  I have used them in a few continents now and they work like a charm everytime.  As for a straightener I used the Conair Flat Iron 2" and never had any issues with it.  I had a friend who brought her expensive Chi and it started smelling like it was burning inside after about 5 minutes.  Converters definitely do not work with things like straighteners. 

    I also got this adapter kit that has names of the countries it works in.  It's great if you travel a lot.  Just grab the ones you need and go. 
    God bless you for wearing heels in Italy!  Italy really did a number with my ankles, and the cobblestone kills.  They get slippery during those sporadic rains too.  So be careful!  I used the Merrell Siren traveling/hiking in South America and they were great (however I used them when hiking a sand dune and months later I am still finding sand in them). 

    Have fun drinking cheap wine, and make sure to get lost in Venice (it's part of the experience). 

  2. Thanks for the tips! I am leaving tomorrow morning and I’m sure I will not be able to sleep tonight. I’m pretty sure my feet will be hurting by the end of day 2, but I hear Italy makes the best shoes, so I’ll just have to get some comfy ones there. I’ll post when I return how my adapters, flat irons and shoes work out. I hope this trip is just the start of my travel experiences and that I learn something from each one.

  3. Sara Bliss says:

    GREAT article. Thanks so much. I am going to Italy and Greece in 3 weeks and I was freaking out about my flat iron. Thanks for the info. Happy travels
    Sara Bliss

  4. I was in a “flat iron” panic before my trip, but the adapters worked great. Have fun!

  5. Amy says:

    So did the flat iron you bought with the adapter work out for you?  Or, I'm considering just investing in a really cute hat!  :)

  6. LOL! Yes, the flat iron (& adapter) worked at every hotel in Italy. No problems. But, a hat would be easier and cheaper ;)

  7. Christy L says:

    This was so helpful. I travel to Italy once a year and have blown up endless Chis. I researched and found the GHD brand of flight iron with dual voltage @185.00. Hoping it works. I have extremely curly think frizzy hair so I have to have the bestter brand!!
    Thanks for the helpful tips!!

  8. Happy to hear it was helpful! My dual voltage hasn’t failed me yet :)

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