If you’re planning to travel to a foreign country with a power wheelchair, there’s several things you’ll need to know in order to be sure your chair can be safely charged at your destination.
Knowing both the voltage and frequency
You must know both the voltage and frequency you currently use to charge your chair AND the voltage and frequency of the country you’re traveling to – that way you can determine if you need an adapter or a converter (more on that in a bit). Second, you’ll need to know the plug and socket type for the country you’re traveling to. Different countries often use different plugs and socket types, so if you’ll be visiting several countries in one trip, be sure to have enough equipment to cover all types you’ll need.
It may sound daunting, but don’t panic. Luckily there are ways you can find this information easily, this handy webpage lists out the voltage, frequency, and plug type of each country in the world! You can also see pictures of each plug type to get a visual understanding of what you’ll need.
Finally, you want to determine if you’ll need an adapter or converter for your charger.
“Adapters do not convert electricity from one voltage to another; they simply allow your appliance, which has one plug type, to fit into a socket of a different type … However, if you are traveling to a place with a different voltage, you’ll need what is called a converter, which does convert electricity from one voltage to another. If the place you’re traveling to has a different voltage and different plug types, you can buy something that is both an adapter and a converter.”
An example if you’re traveling from the US to Australia:
120 volts / 60 Hertz / Plug types A and B
230 volts / 50 Hertz / Plug type I
So you would need both a converter (for the voltage and frequency) and an adapter (for the plug/socket).
Lastly, you might want to locate a nearby wheelchair repair shop close to your destination just in case things don’t go quite as planned: “It can be difficult to find wheelchair repair shops abroad, especially if you don’t speak the language – so noting the location of these shops beforehand is indispensable.”
Share this post with someone who is planning to travel abroad and charge a power wheelchair in a foreign country.