If you are traveling for business or pleasure, you may need to charge an electrical appliance such as your laptop or cell phone. Charging your mobile phone in Mexico may be as simple as plugging your phone's charger into the outlet. However, you may need adapters and voltage regulators to avoid damaging your device.
Check out the voltage used in Mexico. Most electrical appliances made for use in Mexico work at 117 volts.
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Find out the voltage rate of the country you are traveling from. Most electrical appliances made for use in the United States work at 115 volts.
Compare the voltage of the countries. The United States, Mexico and Canada generally use 110/120 volts for electrical equipment, but most other countries use 220 to 240 volts. Since Mexico uses the approximate same voltage as the United States, no converter is required. If traveling from a country that uses 220/240 volts, you will need a converter to "step down" the electric current to 110. Purchase a converter.
Plug your phone's charger directly unto the outlet if you do not need a step-down converter. Travelers to Mexico from the U.S., Canada, Japan and most of the Caribbean will be able to plug their phone charger directly into the outlet. Travelers to Mexico from most European countries and countries in other parts of the world that use 220-volt electrical outlets will have to plug their cell phone charger into a converter and plug the converter into the electrical outlet.
Look up the plug configuration of the country you are traveling from and, using the diagram, select the appropriate adapter. Plug adapters do not convert voltage. Every country has a different plug configuration. Travelers needing to use a step-down converter and an adapter will plug the charger plug into the step-down converter, then plug the step-down converter into the adapter plug, and then plug the charger into the electrical outlet. Travelers from the United States will not need an adapter to change their cell phone's electrical plug to a different configuration. Both Mexico and the United States use plugs that have two straight prongs or two straight prongs with a rounded grounding prong, which are commonly known as "A" and "B" outlets. Travelers to Mexico from the United States will not need a plug adapter.
Things You'll Need
Electrical outlet adapter kit
Grounded plug converter
To charge a cell phone in Mexico, although neither an adapter nor a converter is needed by travelers from the United States to Mexico, an inexpensive ungrounded/grounded plug adapter may be necessary. Just as in the United States, some older buildings in Mexico do not have grounded electrical plug outlets, which are three-prong plugs or two-prong plugs with one side bigger than the other. Travelers from the United States many need an ungrounded/grounded plug adapter that is available for purchase in housewares and hardware departments at local stores for a less than a dollar in 2010.
If you want assistance in purchasing a converter or adapter, most travel stores and online travel stores have staff who are able to tell you which converter and adapter or adapters to purchase. In some cases, it is more economical to buy a converter/adapter kit.
Tourists may take minimal personal effects into Mexico duty-free. Tourists also are allowed to carrying into Mexico a duty-free, cellular phone. A tourist carrying a cellular telephone, a laptop or one of the listed personal effects into Mexico, even if duty-free, should enter the "Merchandise to Declare" lane at the first customs checkpoint and be prepared to pay any assessed duty. Failure to declare personal effects routinely results in the seizure of the goods as contraband, the seizure of the vehicle in which the goods are, substantial fines and attorney’s fees.
- CNN -- Travel: Plugged in Overseas; Jennifer Merin; 1998
- Kropla: World Electrical Guide
- U.S. State Department: International Travel: Mexico
- EscapeArtist.com: Diagrams of Adapter Plugs
- EscapeArtist.com: World Electric Power Guide
- All About Cancun: Frequently Asked Questions
- Magellan's Travel Supplies: Electrical Standards by Country