Which travel adapter will I need when using a curling iron in Bolivia?

Bolivian power outlet

Summary

First check that your curling iron can work in Bolivia:

If not then either:

  • Use a dual voltage travel curling iron [2] - you might still need a power adapter for Bolivia but these cheap lightweight accessories are designed specifically for the rigors of travel.
  • Use a power converter (or voltage transformer) - this will enable you to use your existing curling iron and other applicances with a 115 volt Bolivian power outlet, however this is substantially bulkier, heavier and more expensive than a dedicated travel curling iron. A power converter will change the voltage but not the shape of the plug on your curling iron to fit in the types of wall outlet used in Bolivia, therefore check that the power converter has the correct power adapter for Bolivia otherwise you will need to purchase a seperate power adapter. Please be aware that your own existing curling iron might not be suited for travel and you could risk potential damage in your luggage. [7]
Warning: If your curling iron won't handle 115 volts used in Bolivia you run the potential risk of an electrical fire hazard, blowing a fuse or damage to your curling iron. Prior to using your curling iron in Bolivia check the instruction manual first to ensure safe operation.

Using a curling iron in Bolivia

Will my curling iron work in Bolivia?

It depends on if your curling iron is designed to handle the 115 volts used in Bolivia. If you're using either a dual voltage curling iron or your curling iron is designed to operate using 115 volts and you have the correct plug adapter then you'll be able to use it in Bolivia. If not then you will need to consider purchasing either a power converter or a dual voltage travel curling iron [2]. Read our section on can you use a voltage converter to use your curling iron in Bolivia for help deciding which solution is more suitable. [7]

Bolivia power outlets and plug sockets

What mains voltage is used in Bolivia?

The residential voltage used in Bolivia is 115 volts.

What is the frequency used with a Bolivian power outlet?

The frequency found in a Bolivian power outlet is 50 Hz. [8]

Which power adapter will you need to bring to use a curling iron in Bolivia?

Type A and C power outlets

Which power adapter will you need to bring to use a curling iron in Bolivia?

There are two types of power outlets used in Bolivia, types C and A with the primary power outlets being type C:

  • Plug Type A - You can recognise this wall socket by the 2 slots adjacent to each other where the two pins go.
  • Plug Type C - This ungrounded wall outlet (known as the Europlug) can be identified by the 2 adjacent holes next to each other for live and neutral pins.

A Type C power adapter will allow you to use a 115 volt curling iron in Bolivia, read the simple guide below for full details of how to use a curling iron in Bolivia with a travel adapter. Be aware that unless you that have a dual voltage curling iron you might also need to bring a voltage converter.  [4] [9]

Dual voltage curling irons

How can you tell if your curling iron is dual voltage?

A simple way to tell if your curling iron will support dual voltage is to look for either a sticker or numbers printed on the handle or plug. This location might depend on the make or model of your curling iron and should also be written in the instruction manual. Some dual voltage curling irons will change automatically, however other models will have a button which allows you to operate between different voltage ranges depending on which country you are visiting.

  • A specific number such as 110V indicates a single voltage curling iron. If this number matches the 115 volts used in Bolivia then you should be able to use your curling iron with a Bolivian power outlet.
  • A small voltage range with a dash such as 100-120V also indicates a single voltage curling iron which can accomodate small voltage fluctuations. If the 115 volts used in a Bolivian power outlet falls within the range shown on your curling iron then you should be able to use it in Bolivia.
  • A large voltage range separated with a slash such as 100/240V indicates a dual voltage curling iron capable of being used in Bolivia or any other country.

Travelling to Bolivia with a curling iron

Is it better to bring your domestic curling iron or dual voltage curling iron to Bolivia?

It is preferable to packing a dual voltage curling iron as opposed to packing your existing domestic curling iron to Bolivia as it ensures that it will operate correctly with the 115 volt power outlets used with a Bolivian power outlet, provided that you bring the correct power adapter for Bolivia. It is also worth concidering that bringing expensive domestic curling iron could put it at risk due to potential loss or damage in transit by an airline baggage handler. The cost and inconvenience involved in repairing or replacing an expensive specialised curling iron in Bolivia might be more than buying a cheap dual voltage travel curling iron [2] before travelling to bring with you. If you intend to bring along your own curling iron in your luggage it is recommended to either slide it inside a boot or sneaker to protect from light knocks, alternatively use a heat resistant and shockproof hot tools travel case which also allows the curling iron to be transported whilst hot without waiting to cool down.  [10]

Can I carry on a curling iron?

According to the TSA guidelines for curling irons there is no restriction on bringing a mains powered curling iron in your carry on hand luggage through airport security in the United States. The TSA suggests that you should check that the airline who is taking you to Bolivia will allow curling irons onboard and that it will fit in the overhead bin or underneath the seat of the airplane.

Packing your curling irons in a dedicated heat resistant protective hot tools travel case leaves it easily accessible by airport security, it can be packed away quickly and will avoid a tangle of cords in your carry on luggage (the TSA recommends wrapping wires tightly around curling irons). If you intend to pack fragile or expensive curling irons in your hand held luggage then it is advisable to use hard carry on luggage as this offers the most protection against knocks and bumps during your journey.   [10] [11] [12]

Power converters for Bolivia

What is the difference between a power adapter and a voltage converter?

Voltage converter

What is the difference between a power adapter and a voltage converter?

A heavy and bulky power converter will transform a 115 volt Bolivian power outlet to work with a non-115 volt curling iron, whereas a cheaper and smaller power adapter (or plug adapter) will change the shape of the plug on your curling iron to fit into a power outlet in Bolivia. [7]

Do I need a converter in Bolivia to use my curling iron?

A power converter (or voltage transformer) will allow a curling iron using a different voltage to operate with the 115 volt power outlet used in Bolivia. A power converter is more suited for travellers who want to bring along their own domestic curling iron, but it could be a lot less expensive to buy a dedicated dual voltage travel curling iron [2] than it will be to purchase a power converter. Also, a power converter is significantly heavier and bulkier than a travel curling iron making a power converter less suited for travelling. [7]

How to use a curling iron in Bolivia using a type C power adapter

Instructions on how to power your curling iron in Bolivia using a 2 prong Type C travel charger.

  1. Please ensure that the curling iron is either a dual voltage travel curling iron [2] or can work with a 115 volt power outlet - but if not then don't continue as you might damage your iron, blow a fuse or create an electrical fire hazard. Before using a travel curling iron ensure the switch is set to accept 115 volts to use in Bolivia; please consult the manufacturers instructions to find out where the switch is found.
  2. You'll need to buy a Type C plug adapter [4] if the type of plug used on your curling iron isn't the same type of power outlet used in Bolivia. The plug adapter will fit different plugs from other countries for use with a power outlet used in Bolivia simply by changing the shape of the plug, but it doesn't change the voltage of your curling iron to work with a 115 volt outlet.
  3. First you'll need to insert the Type C plug adapter into the wall outlet. You can identify this power outlet by the 2 round adjacent holes next to each other where the plug outlet pins go.
  4. Then plug in the curling iron into the Type C plug adapter.
  5. Switch on the Bolivian power outlet. Your hair curling iron is now ready to be used in Bolivia.
How to use a curling iron in Bolivia using a type C power adapter

How to use a curling iron in Bolivia using a type A power adapter

Instructions on how to power your curling iron in Bolivia with a 2 prong Type A travel adapter.

  1. Please make sure that your curling iron is either a dual voltage travel curling iron [2] or can work with a 115 volt power supply but if not then do not continue because you may blow a fuse, damage your curling iron or create an electrical fire hazard. Before using a dual voltage travel curling iron which can toggle between different voltages ensure you have set it to accept 115 volts for use in Bolivia, please consult the instructions to find out where this switch is located.
  2. This guide assumes that you don't already own a curling iron with a Type A plug - if it does then you won't need a power adapter (but you will still need to check that your curling iron can work with a 115 volt power outlet). So, if the plug shape on your curling iron isn't the same shape as the outlet used in Bolivia you'll need to use a Type A plug adapter [6]. This Type A plug adapter is designed to fit plugs on appliances from other countries for an electrical outlet in Bolivia by changing the shape of the plug, however the adapter doesn't change the frequency or voltage of the curling iron to work with a 115 volt supply.
  3. Start the process by taking the Type A plug adapter and inserting it into the Bolivian power outlet. This wall outlet (known as the Type A power outlet [5]) can be identified by the 2 slots for live and neutral blades.
  4. After that plug in the curling iron into the Type A plug adapter.
  5. Turn on the Bolivian power outlet. Your curling iron can now be switched on.
How to use a curling iron in Bolivia using a type A power adapter

See also

  1. Wikipedia - Wikipedia.org entry about Bolivia
  2. Amazon - dual voltage travel curling iron
  3. iec.ch - Type C power outlet
  4. Type C plug adapter - European Europlug Type C plug adapters are unearthed and comprise of two 4mm rounded pins placed 19mm apart, costing between $5 to $10 USD (£10-£15 GBP / under C$15).
  5. iec.ch - Type A power outlet
  6. Type A plug adapter - There are 2 parallel rectangular flat blades on an unearthed Type A plug adapter with small holes in each blade, costs under $15 USD (£3-£4 GBP / C$10-C$15).
  7. Power converter - A step up step down power converter converts 110-120 volts up to 220-240 volts and 220-240 volts down to 110-120 Volts, between $90 to $100 USD (£100-£110 GBP / under C$80).
  8. Wikipedia - WikiPedia - Mains electricity by country -
  9. iec.ch - IEC World Plugs by location -
  10. Hard case for hot tools - Hard case designed for storing and protecting a flat irons, curling irons and hair straighteners, estimated cost between $10 to $15 USD (under £10 GBP / under C$25).
  11. tsa.gov - TSA guidelines for curling irons -
  12. Hard carry on luggage - Example of hard cases, suitcases and luggage suitable for airline carry on, priced at between $45 to $50 USD (£40-£45 GBP / around C$70).