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.
THE FLAT IRON DILEMMA
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.
THE IPHONE & ITALY
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!!
WHAT I BOUGHT
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