Packing For Your Year Abroad in Korea

So, you’ve landed an amazing opportunity to work as a teacher abroad in Korea, or you’re going to study abroad, or maybe you’re volunteering for some adventurous community service program…

Congratulations! Moving overseas can be a little overwhelming at times and packing can seem like a daunting task (those pesky airline regulations don’t help!). But never fear, this post will provide all the packing hacks you need to make moving to Korea a breeze.

Stuff you’ll want to bring, but should leave behind

  • Expensive jewelry: Keep it light. Only bring items you don’t mind losing, save the fancy jewelry for when you’re back home.
  • Bedding: It’s just too much, and with most airlines having a 50 lb (23 kg) weight limit, there’s no way you’re going to sacrifice your favourite cozy sweater for sheets! You can find bedding in local marts, and sometimes your apartment will have “leftovers” from the previous tenant. The quality might not be as soft and luxurious as you’re used to, but it’s definitely worth it to save that space in your suitcase.

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I spent two wonderful years teaching English in Seoul, South Korea. It was my first time ever traveling to a new country, let alone working in one! Needless to say, I waaaay over-packed and had to get rid of a lot of my stuff because there was just no room in my tiny studio apartment. Take a lesson from me: save space and only take the necessities you need. You can purchase everything else when you get there!

Packing for your carry-on*

*Carry-on tips endorsed by Queen Bey
  • A Journal: This is something I wish I would have packed. Document your memories regardless of your writing ability. Start writing on the plane and see where the journey takes you! I feel a journal is also cozier than a bright laptop in bed late at night whilst writing away. 

  • Cords/chargers: For your Kindle, laptop, iPod, etc.
  • Toiletries: Want to walk off that flight like the globe-trotting god/goddess you are? You’ll want to freshen up on that thirteen-hour flight across the world, so pack some goodies that will make you feel like a clean, lean, travelling machine. Just make sure all your washes, lotions and fragrances are regulation size so that the TSA agent doesn’t end up with your signature scent.

 Things for check-in baggage

  • Coat: Korea gets cold (especially in Seoul). Plus, you’ll want a coat for when you decide to travel to a colder country nearby. Korean sizes are a tad bit smaller than you might be used to, so finding jackets and outerware to fit you can be, erm, challenging. Trust me on this!
  • Comfortable Shoes: Obviously you’ll be doing some exploring on the side, right? Don’t be afraid to sacrifice style for comfort– your feet will thank you! You can always buy a pair of snazzy shoes for cheap, too.  
  • Clothes: Bring about two weeks worth of clothes for every season to make sure you’re prepared for the crisp falls and humid summers. After all, you’re traveling to one of the most fashionable countries in the world and can purchase more trendy and unique clothes while you’re there–the underground shops in Korea are unbelievable!
  • Universal Adapter Plugs: Purchase at least 2 universal adapters to plug in your appliances/devices around the world. It’s a classic rookie mistake to forget this very small, but very important item! 
  • A Quality Camera: You probably won’t have a phone for a while and you’ll want those awesome travel shots to document and share with family and friends back home. Who knows, maybe you’ll become a writer and will need those awesome shots for your blog.

Packing Guru? What are your packing hacks? 

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