Compared to Thailand Korea actually has a lot more access to things that you might need during your stay (depending on where you are) However there are a couple of things that I wish I had brought… or glad I did!
- Deodorant- If like me you hate roll on deodorant then I would recommend bringing enough sprays to keep you going (and roll on ones if you like a certain brand) It can be hard to find here and if you do find it it’s usually only one brand like Nivea. Not to mention for one spray it can cost almost $7! This goes for boys AND girls!
- Bedding- Bedding here can vary in sizes and be very expensive! It can also be not as good quality as back home. If you like your cotton sheets make sure you bring some with you!
- Towels- Again if you like nice towels bring some with you, all the ones I have seen here are polyester, expensive or really small. It might sound like a small thing but it really makes a difference!
- Hair dye- If you dye your hair you might want to bring enough to see you through. Yes you can get dye here but remember it is for Asian hair which is dark brown/black. Why is this a problem? Well for someone who is naturally fair I decided to dye my hair dark blonde/light brown using Korean hair dye and it came out peroxide blonde! Luckily this colour suited me but meant I had to keep dying my hair while here to avoid roots!
- Make up- Again almost all make up you get here will be for Asian skin which is lighter so if you like foundation or BB cream bring some from home if you want the right tone. Also if you do buy some make sure it doesn’t contain ‘whitener’ which many products do!
- Toothpaste- One I wish I had known before! Of course you can buy toothpaste here but almost all Korean toothpaste’s do not contain fluoride. So bring some of your preferred brand from back home so you know what’s in it!
- Birth control Again yes it is available here but it may not be the one you’re used to… not something you want to mess up! So even if it means a year’s supply of pill then it’s worth it!
- Girls ‘products’- Sorry guys avert your eyes!! Tampons are almost non-existent here (at least where I live!) and you are only able to really get pads…. So if you prefer these or have a favourite brand then its best to bring a year’s supply!
- spices If you like cooking bring some with you!
- Bank details- As I have mentioned before you WILL save money in Korea and unless you want to carry a load of cash home with you bringing your home back details is useful. You need your SWIFT code (international bank number) your account number and your BSB/sort code you also need your banks address.
- International driving licence- Apparently quite easy to get if you are anywhere other than the UK, Andy got his here. You only need if you plan on driving anything over 125cc. We planned on getting a car but ended up just getting a 100cc scooter.
Thing to Wear
- Remember Korea has all 4 seasons. It gets very hot and humid in summer and very dry and cold in winter. Make sure you bring light loose clothing for summer and warm clothing for winter!
- If you are big (and by that I mean 10/12+ or L/XL male then you might want to bring plenty to wear. If you are in the big cities of Busan and Seoul then there are stores (however can be expensive!) with western sizes but if not bring plenty! Some UK stores do send to Korea… my favourite being www.newlook.com one of my favourite stores from back home, western sizes, cheap delivery, quick and good prices! So much so our Korean manager has started using it!
- Shoes- if like me you have big feet (UK size 7) then you will struggle to find non-ugly shoes. Make sure you bring shoes for summer and winter!
- Laptops/tablets– Yes Korean might own Samsung but it doesn’t mean it’s cheap!! We expected to get good priced electronics here but all shops only seem to sell top of the range gear here which costs much more than back home! There is a great electronics market in Yongsan you can find out about here.
- Smart phone- WIFI is always available and these come in handy. If like me you keep close contact with parents and friends back home get them to download whatsapp, free international messaging service where you can chat, send pictures or videos for free. Thanks to this I can chat to my best friend everyday… and my parents!! Be sure to make sure it is unlocked before you come so you can get a sim card (Also iphone 3’s are hard to find a sim for here!)
Korea is getting better for getting your hands on things but it all depends on where you live… hopefully this helps!
If you think of anything else please add below!