As the semester is coming to a close, here are all the packing recommendations I have for the Fall-Winter Semester. Even though there are many packing recommondations around the internet, I would like to give you my recommendations on what to bring, what to buy here is Korea, and where you can find those items.
South Korea, especially around Yonsei University is a more metropolitan area. There are so many resources that are easily accessible and you will not need to bring specific things from your home country.
DON'T to bring:
1. Power Adaptor and Chargers
This may seem a bit surprising, but there are so many electronic stores in the area that if you do not already have a plug adaptor, don't buy it ahead of time! There are bookstores here that you can purchase a multiplug adaptor for cheaper than Amazon. Please only bring chargers that you will need on the flight and during the first few days (Ex. phone charging cord). You will be able to buy other charging cords for cheap.
Recommendation: Kyobo Book Centre Hapjeong Branch
This bookstore is a great place to purchase both electronics and stationary.
Address: 473 Hapjeong-dong Mapo-gu Seoul 합정동473딜라이트스퀘어2차(지하1층)
Unless you are very attached to certain pieces of jewelry, do not bring any! There are tons of beautiful jewelry stores at all price brackets all over the city. They are definitely styles that you can not easily purchase in the States, so pack minimally and purchase your earrings, rings, bracelets, necklaces, anklets here!
Recommendation: The Plain
Address: 23-19 Chungmuro 1(il)-ga Jung-gu Seoul 서울 충무로23-19
3. Makeup, Skincare, Haircare
South Korea is the hub of all makeup and skincare. Unless you have conditions that require special products, purchase your beauty products here! For my girls that are that are darker than a 23N, please bring your own foundation, concealer, and powder! You can purchase others here, but you will not be able to find any products of your shade unless you get one customized.
IMPORTANT: If you have textured hair, please bring the products that you normally use! It is very difficult to find shampoo, conditioner, and deep conditioner for those of you with textured hair. You will have a difficult time, so I definitely recommond bringing your own!
Recommendation: Olive Young (there is one at almost every couple blocks!)
Address: 5-29 Changcheon-dong Seodaemun-gu Seoul 서대문구 명물길54
The sock collection that you can accumulate here is wonderfully large. Socks in Korea are very creative and inexpensive. Please bring only enough for the first few days and you will be fine!
5. Stationary and Notebooks
There are beautiful stationary and notebooks here that you can buy here for cheap, so don't go through the hastle of bringing them from home! In classrooms, laptops and tablets are the main sources of note taking. Unless you use a notebook (or paper) on the regular, you will not need notebooks at all!
Recommendations: Muji - best pens and socks in my opinion
Address: 18-21 Changcheon-dong Seodaemun-gu Seoul 창천동 18-21 피델리아빌딩 1-4층
Address: 23 Myeongmul-gil Seodaemun-gu Seoul 서울 서대문구 명물길 23
6. Clothes Hangers, Organizers, and Similar
If you need any organization equipment, Daiso will be you best friend! You can purchase any of your baskets, clothes hangers, clothing racks for under ₩ 10,000 (under $8) a piece! Your heart and wallet will not hurt once you leave, and you will have a beautifully organized room during your stay here.
Address: 31-82 Changcheon-dong Seodaemun-gu Seoul 창천동 31-82
6. Totes, Handbags, etc.
If you are into using different bags, consider buying them in Korea! There are so many bag stores on the streets that are not only affordable, but also stylish. Unless there is a specific bag you really like, consider purchasing them here!
7. Sanitary Products
I understand that in many of the ''South Korea Packing List"'s online that mention bringing your own sanitary products due to price, but you really don't need to! There are sanitary pad of all sizes for all flows available at every convenience store and Olive Young. It is so easy to find, and it is really about the same price you will be paying in America, so don't use the luggage space and buy it here! Tampons will be a little bit more bothersome because convenience stores do not carry them, but Olive Young does, so you will be fine as well!
8. Hair Appliances
Regardless of what you may or may not have heard, do NOT bring your hair dryers, hair curlers, hair straighters, or any other hair appliances you usually use! The power in Korea is 220V while the US is only 120V. Unless you plan on bringing a voltage converter, do not bring your appliances! You will not be able to use them at all. They will burn out and you will not be able to use it again. If you enjoy curling or straightening your hair, note the barrel of your usual appliance and buy one at ArtBox for under $23 (₩ 30,000).
Address: 23 Myeongmul-gil Seodaemun-gu Seoul 서울 서대문구 명물길 23
1. Portable Charger - bring a good portable charger that can be used multiple times in a single charge. There are outlets all over the city and in classrooms. Unless you are on a long roadtrip, you will not need multiple batteries. If you do need a charger, most if not all convenience stores have single use chargers you can purchase for around $5. If you want sometime a bit more portable, Kyobo Bookstore has amazing chargers that connect directly to your phone without a cord.
2. Clothes - Seoul is one of the most fashionable cities in Korea, but if you are of larger stature or do not really like the Korean fashion trends at the moment, bring your own clothes! Korea is a very trend oriented place, thus what you see trending, is going to be what most of the clothing stores will be selling. In addition, there are not many places that are more diverse in sizes. If you wear a US 10 or larger, it will be difficult to find clothes.
- Limit yourself to clothes that can be styled interchangable. Focus on neutrals and classics with a few statement pieces!
- If you overpack on clothes, you will have a hard time with luggage on your journey back. Limit yourself to bringing 5-10 pieces of pants, short sleeves, and long sleeves, and 1-2 choices of outwear. This will be your starter pack and enough for your trip, as you will accummulate clothes throughout your trip here!
- Bring clothes that you like, but can be eliminated from your wardrobe. If you do not have enough place, clothes you can donate and leave here in Korea.
- If you are interested in the party scene in Korea, do not bring all of your fancy clothes. Pack outfits that you can restyle to save space.
- Unless on a budget, do not bring any of your puffer jackets! Korea has some beautiful winter jackets. Even though Korean winters are very cold, you will only be here for about 3 weeks. Please do not overpack on sweaters and hoodies. (There are some great styles here too)
3. Undergarments - For my fellow ladies, please do not purchase any of your undergarments in Korea! Korea is very limited in the sizes and styles offered, so please bring your own! You can also bring garments that can be eliminated after to save space in your luggage.
4. Travel Size - Ranging form shampoo, conditioner to skincare, please pack only travel size, just in case anything happens to your luggage, or you are unable to purchase the products when you arrive. They are also very useful to bring for short trips to other parts of Korea.
5. Medications - For people with prescription medication, please double check with South Korean policies to make sure your medication can be legally brought into the country! For safety, do your best and label your bottle in Korean as well! Make sure to keep prescriptions in its original containers as well. If you consume vitamins, please also bring your own vitamins. You do not want to go through the experience of changing your vitamins, dosages, and brands here in Korea. Since you are also in a foreign country, prevent all ways you might end up in a hospital.
Tip: For those who get sick easily, please bring your own Tylenol and/or Advil. There is Tylenol available in convenience stores in Korea, but they are closely regulated (you are unable to purchase over 12 tablets at a single time - 1 box). Especially for girls who have bad period pains, please bring your own pain medication. It will be more cost efficient and convenient for you.
6. Makeup - If your shade is 23N and under, only bring your holy grails! Products that you will always use regardless of any recommendations. If you are any tanner or darker in shade, please bring your base makeup (as explained above) and you might enjoy discovering color palettes in Korea.
7. Travel First Aid Kit - As someone who is mildly paranoid about changes in surrounding and illness, make a little travel pack of all of your medications + tylenol and advil, bandages, wound care, antiseptic wipes, and sterile gloves. Even if you put it in a little pouch, have one available just in case!
8. Documents - it might be self-explanatory, but have a copy of all your health documents, passport, visa, insurance documents either electronically or phyically. Even though you want to try to do everything to keep yourself out of the hospital, if you ever need to, make sure you have your health records so that the doctors have knowledge of what medications, shots, allergies you have and can treat you accordingly. For similar reasons, have a copy of your passport, visa, medical insurance, and location of your residence available. If you do not know Korean, there is a likely chance that you will need them, so just have it on hand!
9. Cash - Even though South Korea is moving towards no contact payment methods, there are still quite a few places that only accept cash payments! Depending on the current currency exchange rates, please bring your own cash! Many banks have lower exchange rates compare to the banks in South Korea or the airports. Also, depending on what you are interested in, there are some services (nail salons, lash extentions, tattoo), especially those that are individually owned only accept cash and bank transfer. Since we do not have a bank account, bring enough cash or prepare to withdraw said amount to budget for those treatments.
10. Credit Card - Your credit card will be your main source of monetary use in Korea! There are many stores and restaurants that only order using a kiosk, so that card payment will be the only method! Before coming to Korea, do some research into what cards you can apply for and which cards do not have a foreign transaction fee! Having a no foreign transaction fee card will save you a lot of money when in Korea! The main cards used here will be Visa, Mastercard, and Amex are the main credit cards used, so make sure you have one!
Even though this is a small list of suggestions, please remember that you will only be here for about 4 months and you will be traveling through 3 seasons. Think twice about the things you are packing and make sure you can bring it back!
Remember the less you bring, the more you bring back!
Follow me on my instagram at @___ywh14 for more food and activity recommendations and more!