Are you moving to South Korea or just visiting? In either case, you’ll need to know what to pack. If you find packing overwhelming, don’t worry, we have you covered! Pack for your trip with help from someone in-the-know, someone who is a foreigner living in Korea…Hi there. Whether its your 1st or 10th visit to Korea, the packing advice is the same. Now, let’s get you packed for the vacation of a lifetime!
Depending on your nationality and the length of your stay, you may need to obtain a visa before you come to Korea. There are several different types of visa available to suit the nature of your trip and you can apply for these visas through the Korean embassy in your home country.
However, it is important to check your eligibility for the visa as there are financial and circumstantial requirements. Additionally, visa procurement may be difficult at this time due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Book Your Accommodation
When you arrive into the airport in Korea, you will need to provide the address of where you will be staying to the immigration officers. If you’re here on vacation, be sure to make a reservation in advance and make a note of your accommodation address and contact numbers. There are plenty of sites you can browse to find your perfect stay, from Booking.com to right here on KoreabyMe!
If you’re staying long term in Korea, as a student or worker, preparing accommodation may be more — or less — complicated. For instance, if you’re a student, you will likely stay in student dorms and you will be provided with the info for your immigration card in advance. If you’re working in Korea, you will have to find your own place. Many foreigners use sites like Ziptoss and Airbnb to find long term stays.
Learn some Korean
Many foreigners who live in Korea are students on Korean Language programs at various universities across the country. Even if you are studying a different subject, or not a student at all, I highly recommend you study some Korean for your trip. Learning Hangul (the Korean alphabet) is relatively easy and will help you greatly for when you arrive.
Did you know that Koreans use a lot of English words? They’re just written in Hangul! Furthermore, learning Korean gives you the chance to communicate with locals and discover those hidden gems that other travellers don’t know about. A little goes a long way.
Plan your Journey
From bullet trains and metro subways to buses and taxis, there are several methods to travel from the airport to your accommodation. However, after a long and tiring plane journey, you don’t want to be fussing about trying to find the best method. Therefore, I suggest that you plan a route ahead of time, even booking your travel, so you can just sit back and relax when you arrive. To be honest, I almost always choose private transportation.
Before travelling to South Korea, get travel insurance. Assuming everything goes well, you won’t need to use your travel insurance. But you know what they say about those who ‘assume’, it makes an a** out of you and me. Don’t even think about taking a trip to a foreign country without travel insurance. Should you get into difficulties without insurance, you can quickly rack up a hefty debt. There are various kinds of travel insurance available, including one thats insure specific items like laptops or jewellery.
Packing for Korea
And now, onto the packing. These are the necessary items to pack into your suitcase before heading off to Korea! Whether you’re here for a short or long time, you will no doubt be in need of these items.
Money, money, money, money…money!🎶
The local currency in Korea is the Korean Won (₩). Additionally, Korea is fast becoming a paperless society, with credit cards accepted everywhere from the high tech shopping malls to the traditional markets. There is usually a currency conversion fee for withdrawing money from an international card in Korea, so I recommend using your card instead of cash wherever possible.
Furthermore, if you ask your local bank, you may find that you can sign up to a credit card designed specifically for use abroad. In any case, be sure to inform your bank that you care going to Korea, otherwise they may flag your purchases as suspicious.
As well as your suitcase, you’ll want to bring a bag that you are comfortable carrying around for lengthy periods of time. I recommend having a handbag or backpack that is easy to take out and about. Furthermore, I often bring a light tote bag as well, incase I do any shopping. This is certainly an eco-friendly essential, especially since more and more establishments have stopped providing plastic bags.
All the Documents
Your passport, visa, travel insurance, accommodation booking confirmation, tickets. Everything. To be honest, you never know what you’re going to need here, so its best to keep your essential documents with you. For instance, if you are here for a short stay, you may need to show proof of your return flight when you arrive. Additionally, if you’re staying for less than 6 months, you can show your passport in stores to receive tax refunds on payments over 30,000 KRW!
South Korea is well-known for its full seasons: blooming spring, hot and humid summer, colourful mild autumn and freezing winters. If you’re staying in Korea for a long time, you’ll want to pack some of your seasonal essentials for the hot and cold weather!
Make sure you pack winter clothes before traveling to Korea. Korea can get bitterly cold (-10 °C | 14 °F), especially when high winds blow. You can shop for clothes when you arrive but its much better to come prepared, otherwise even waiting for a taxi could be perilous!
South Korea can get rather hot and humid in the summer (30 °C | 86 °F), so bring some light clothing if you’re visiting between June and August. Additionally, you’ll want to bring suncream and protective wear for the strong UV rays, as well as bug spray.
Ready to pack? Now head to KoreabyMe.com for some travel inspo.