Using Transformers when Moving Abroad

I am not an electrician. For the record, I am an Expat with a  liberal arts degree. I am just going to share something that worked great for me when I moved overseas. When I was decided what to pack and what not to pack in our overseas container, I was really sad about some of my electrical items. I have had the same electric frying pan for fifteen years and it makes one of my favorite dishes. So the thought of leaving behind some of my favorite appliances was sad, not to mention that it seemed like a waste of money.

Then along came the idea of using a transformer. I was completely clueless about electricity abroad but started some research. In the USA I had 120-volt and was moving to a 220-volt area. I looked into a step up or step down transformer; meaning that I could change from 120 to 220 volt or 200 to 120 volt by running the plug through the transformer. I am including a picture and link of one I have, there are many products on the market.

The downsides are they are heavy and take up space. Check the prices of them where you are and where you are moving to. We discovered that they were cheaper to buy in the USA than Germany and bought one and packed it on the shipping container.

The other thing to check is the wattage of the item you want to use. For instance, my Instant Pot runs on 1000 Watt and I knew I wanted to bring that so I bought a transformer that could handle the wattage. Rockstone Power recommends on their website a wattage that is over 50% of what is needed for your appliance. I also read that sometimes appliances with moving parts such as a fan might not do well with a transformer. And the one item I did blow out was my hand mixer. But rest assured it wasn’t an explosion just a mild quiet death.

When you get your transformer you’ll want to read the instructions thoroughly before using. It is so easy to use just a bit intimidating at first. The first time I turned it on it makes this loud humming noise for a second and I thought I might die. All good, they do that!

I’m including it on my blog because it has been a huge success with my international move. The money I spent on the transformer was well made up when I did not have to buy all new appliances abroad. I did buy a new vacuum overseas, I thought lugging around a 10 pound transformer while vacuuming might not be efficient.

For more detailed ideas for adapting to life as an Expatriate check out my book, Moving Overseas: Tales of woe, torture, and success.
***Anyone out there interested in guest blogging about your move? Especially looking for people who moved overseas with animals or dogs.