Why Tourists Should Just Avoid Bringing Their Hot Tools For Hair Care To Europe

You're heading to Europe and want to look good in your Trevi Fountain selfies and Eiffel Tower group photos. Besides cautiously choosing which clothing to pack, you might also want to bring along your go-to hair tools to stay camera-ready throughout your trip.

However, hot tools — including hair dryers, flat irons, and electric curlers — might not work overseas, and some people learn this the hard way after destroying their gadgets. Amanda Rollins, a TikToker who lives in France, warned tourists in a video to not bring their American tools to Europe, where they can end up fried or even explode. Meredith Boyd, a professional hair and makeup artist, also shared the tip in a TikTok video while showing off a set of heated hair curlers she accidentally melted while on vacation.

The reason many American appliances don't work in European countries comes down to voltage. Gadgets made for use in the U.S. generally run on 110 volts, while European ones are equipped to handle 220 volts. If you plug a weaker American hot tool into a strong European outlet, the charge can damage the product, causing it to break, overheat, or even catch on fire.

Avoid packing cordless hair tools, too

One way to sidestep voltage problems when traveling with hot tools is to use battery-powered or chargeable products, such as cordless curling irons and straighteners. Unfortunately, these gadgets can also pose a safety risk if you don't pack them carefully.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has strict rules regarding cordless hot tools. Cord-free hair straighteners containing lithium batteries or gas cartridges are banned from checked bags. The same rule applies to curling irons. These devices must be packed in carry-on bags with a safety cover and, given their potential flammability, should never be turned on mid-flight.

If you absentmindedly make a packing mistake when going on vacation (or on your way back home) and place your hot tool in the wrong bag, you could put the entire flight at risk of a fire or even an explosion. To be safe, it's best to keep your cordless hot tools at home when heading abroad.

If you must bring styling tools, do so carefully

The best way to keep your hair looking polished while on vacation is to stock up on Europe-friendly hair tools before your trip or soon after landing on the other side of the Atlantic. In some cases, however, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that your go-to tools are already safe to use abroad. Check the tag or owner's manual for dual voltage capabilities (you may have to manually turn a switch or dial to adjust the voltages). Some gadgets are also equipped to handle a range of voltages, so if yours runs up to at least 220 volts, it's likely safe to use in Europe.

Ashley Gomila, a celebrity makeup artist and hair stylist, told WhoWhatWear that certain hair tools are more at risk of overheating than others. "Typically, any flat or curling iron is okay to use with a converter, just be sure to bring one that has only one heat level," the expert revealed. "Adjustable and/or multi-heat level tools aren't recommended for conversion because the temperature regulation could be off and cause the iron to burn out or stop working altogether." Note that adapters and converters aren't synonymous: Adapters allow you to plug your electronics into another country's outlets, while converters convert the strength of the electricity.