I’ve only traveled outside the US a few times, to Mexico and Spain. Mexico is not a voltage problem. You buy a blender here chances are you can ship it there and it will be a-okay. But Spain, that thing was a pain to buy adapters especially for my ever so fragile laptop, how the hell do you have round holes for your plugs! WHY!!!....I burned out a night light and a phone charger when there, with a lame adapter. And sleeping in the dark without any form of communication to civilization was not a fun night. And from this moment on that’s what I always wondered why do countries have different sockets. Well wonder no more.
And actually the situation is super complicated but spans back to when Edison was working with DC currents and Tesla was working with AC ones. AC is much better and spread in European cities but prideful as we are America didn’t get the memo that AC is more awesome and by the time we tried to change things it was already to late. Also did you know that before you could plug stuff in everything was wired into your walls!.. craziness!... Harvey Hubbell invented the plug we use for the US. And a bunch of other well meaning folks started doing the same all over the world, hence the bunch of plus syndrome. But it made using and selling appliances much easier because you didn’t have to hire electricians to your home. By the time it was 1950 we realized maybe we should switch to AC power and change our two pronged plugs but, well screw that it was to late.
Well meaning companies have tried to lobby for a universal plug, one that when taken anywhere in the world can be used and enjoyed, but since there are at least 12 different kinds of plugs all over the world, most people either want theirs to be the one everyone uses or they’re just like screw you guys that’s to much work so oh well.
The story behind all the different plugs is rather complicated but this site does an awesome job of explaining it. It’s a bit long but I learned tons!
So there you have it. Names for heavy metal bands and plugs that catch fire. All because we cant play nice with other countries.