Travelers’ tip: Plugs and outlets in Spain



What you see in the picture below is un enchufe. In Spain we use the same word for both items, the plug and the outlet; so that you might hear the following question: ¿Dónde hay un enchufe? ( Where can I find an outlet?), and ¿Seguro que el enchufe está enchufado? (Are you sure the plug is connected?) The verbs related to plugs are enchufar (to plug in) and desenchufar (to unplug). A multiple plug is un enchufe múltiple, but colloquially, we call it un ladrón (a thief) because outlets steal electricity from one another.

Travelers will already be aware that Europe and the United States have different power systems. Europe uses a 220volt/50hertz system and the U.S.  uses 110volt/60hertz electricity, which is believed to be safer. As a result, appliances (aparatos) in these nations are designed to work with different types of power sources. That is why using American devices in Europe and vice versa can be catastrophic. What you need is a voltage converter (un transformador). Laptops, cellphones, ipads and other electronic devices include it, but many others don´t. So don´t allow your secador (hair dryer) or your máquinilla de afeitar (shaving machine) to cross transatlantic borders. As you can see in the picture los enchufes in Europe have two little cylindrical legs, and you will need an adapter (un adaptador) for the chargers (los cargadores) of your many devices. You will find them in any regular hardware store (ferretería) for little more than one dollar or one euro, so, don´t pay more for them!

Note that you may hear enchufe used colloquially to mean ‘connections’ as in hace falta tener algún enchufe (you need to have a connection).