We all take electronics on our trips to Europe. Bringing a laptop is very common, weather we want to store more pictures from our phones or we want to edit and post our travel experiences as we travel. Taking a laptop with you makes your work a lot easier than working on your phone. But will my laptop work in Europe? Even though this is a common question, the answer is pretty simple. So, read on to find a few simple steps for making sure your laptop will work in Europe.
The simple answer is yes, your laptop will work in Europe, especially if you take some steps before traveling to Europe. In order to positively answer our question: will my laptop work in Europe, you have to follow these 4 simple steps.
Table of Contents
1. Verify Dual Voltage
The first step you have to complete in order to ensure that your laptop will work properly in Europe is to check your laptop power adapter label. Usually located on the back of your power adapter (or power brick), the label will give your information about the input power requirements and output power your adapter produces. Looking at the picture below, you will see a few things being highlighted.
Laptop Power Adapter showing input power requirements
Input power is the most important piece of information that helps you answer the main question: will my laptop work in Europe? If you see a range, then your laptop will work in Europe. If you only see 110V, then your laptop power adapter will not work in Europe.
In this picture you see that the following entry:
INPUT: 100-240 V 1.7A 50-60Hz
When you check your own laptop’s power adapter you have to make sure the Input label shows a range like in the example above: 100-240V, which means that the power adapter works for voltages ranging from 100V up to 240V. In the United States we use 110V, while in most of Europe they use 220V. So, my laptop’s power adapter works when plugged in an electrical socket both in the US (110V) and Europe (220V). All modern laptops have similar input power requirements, and they all work with a voltage range for power input.
2. Get the Right Plug Converter for Europe
Once you made sure your laptop’s power adapter will work in Europe, you have to purchase a plug adapter so you can plug the laptop power adapter into the electrical socket in the country you’re visiting. Europe has a variety of electrical plugs and you have to make sure you have the right one. With the correct plug adapter, you can simply plug in your laptop power adapter and use your laptop as you use it at home.
This is my favorite plug adapter for Europe (most of it) and it also includes a couple of USB charging ports which simplifies my bag a lot. If you just want a very simple plug converter for Europe, I always throw a couple of these very cheap ones in my bag.
These first 2 steps are all you need in order to positively answer the question: will my laptop work in Europe?
The following 2 steps are for optimizing your laptop while you’re in Europe. So, they’re not necessary, but they will increase your productivity on your laptop.
3. Increase Your Wi-Fi Range
It is a normal situation, that while traveling through Europe, your Wi-Fi connection while you stay at hotels is not the best. Wi-Fi connections speeds vary a lot depending on the hotel and the position of your hotel room. However, I have found an easy solution that helps boost your Wi-Fi signal reception by a lot. Using a great USB Wi-Fi adapter with a great antenna, has more than doubled the strength of Wi-Fi signals I receive at hotels and even at home. You simply plug it into your laptops available USB port and connect to a Wi-Fi network.
After testing a lot of Wi-Fi USB adapters, I found this amazing TP-Link Wi-Fi adapter that more than triples the strength of my Wi-Fi connection.
However, I have to add an important note. Since your laptop already has a Wi-Fi card inside, when you add a new Wi-Fi card by connecting it to the USB port, now your laptop has 2 Wi-Fi cards and sometimes it gets confused and it uses the internal one by default. Especially on Windows it is best to disable your internal Wi-Fi card so your laptop will only use the much better USB Wi-Fi card.
Make sure you disable your laptop’s internal Wi-Fi card so you can take advantage of a super efficient USB wi-fi adapter.
Here are the steps for disabling your internal Wi-Fi card on your Windows laptop:
- In the Search bar at the bottom type: Network
- Select Network Connections from the list of options.
- A window comes up showing your all the network connections: you should see 2 Wi-Fi networks. One that is internal and one that is the new USB Wi-Fi connector.
- Right-Click on your internal Wi-Fi adapter and choose Disable.
- Now your laptop will only use the much more efficient USB Wi-Fi Adapter.
4. Extend Laptop Connections
So far you’ve made sure your laptop works with the European plug and you have optimized your wi-fi connection. In the case you need to spend a lot of time on your laptop, an external mouse and keyboard in addition to an external monitor will go a very long way for you to be productive for a longer time. However, modern laptops have one or two USB ports leaving you without connection to your other devices that you normally connect to your laptop. Here comes a USB-C hub which through only one connection can connect 2 external monitors and a number of USB devices. This is probably one of the best modern inventions in laptop connectivity.
Good USB-C hubs are not expensive but they expand your laptop capabilities very quickly and effectively.
Will My Laptop Work in Europe?
As you’ve already read, yes, your laptop can easily work in Europe and with a few preparations before leaving on your trip to Europe, you can make your laptop work very effectively.
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