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Hair Dryers and Etc

Updated: May 31

In Europe, you cannot plug the hair dryer in to a socket in the bathroom. (Only men can plug their shavers in a socket in the bathroom.) There should always be a hair dryer in the room, but it won’t be in the bathroom. It may be tucked away in a desk drawer or closet.

Note: My husband always takes a hair dryer. One time we stayed in an airbnb that was supposed to have a hair dryer but it didn’t and we couldn’t get the owner to bring us one. It was an apartment with a closet full of outdoor supplies – so my husband actually used a leaf blower to dry his hair! (I wish I had a picture of that!)

If you want to take your own hairdryer because you don’t trust what type you’ll find supplied by the hotel or ship (or airbnb), then here is some information about what to take.

The Nitty Gritty

American hair dryers are 110 volts, while European ones are 220 volts. If you see a range of voltages printed on the item or its plug (such as “110–220”), that will work in Europe (see hair straightener picture below). Some older appliances have a voltage switch marked 110 (US) and 220 (Europe) — switch it to 220 when you pack it in your suitcase so you don’t forget.

For hairdryers, the best one we had was one that had a switch on it that you moved manually to switch it between 110 and 220 volts (but you had to have a penny handy). It died and when we tried to use our regular hair dryer that we brought from home – over there even with a converter – it burned up. So we just ended up buying a mini hair dryer in Glasgow (great shopping there).

Notice the UK 3 prongs on the hair dryer above. Here is a post about the UK and the EU having different electrical plugs.

Here is a dual voltage travel hair dryer from Amazon.

Curling Irons

If you need a curling iron, it is permissible to bring a butane one as carry-on – read the rules here:  

I would recommend trying it at home first, read the reviews and be careful using them. I read one review where someone complained that the curling iron burned her hair.

There are also very small, travel, USB chargeable curling irons. I bought one for a business trip and had trouble with getting it to come on or stay on. It is possible that it was not charged enough. For me it wasn't worth the trouble and worry that it would accidentally come on while it was in my suitcase.

Hair Straightener or Flat Iron

My hair curls really nicely in Ireland and Scotland, so I personally do not use a hair straightener. But on our golf trip to Ireland, my roommate used a hair straightener and it worked – while we were inside. :-D

She bought a dual voltage “Super Styler” specifically for that trip. She said it automatically switched to the right voltage.

Close-up showing dual voltage

And if you’re interested in another tour and appreciate getting all of this helpful information, here are details on our 2024 Outlander Tours of Scotland.

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