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Travel Tips Before You Leave – South Korea

south korea travel

Travelling somewhere new is always fun! Getting away from the daily grind and heading somewhere completely different is something that we all need sometimes.  I love to get lost and discover what a new city or culture has to offer.  But of course it’s always good to do your research before you leave so that you’re ready for everything that’s thrown at you.  So before you pack your bags here are some tips for South Korea travel.

Rent a phone

International phones often have large roaming fees in South Korea.  Unless your service provider has a reciprocal agreement with one of the local providers in Korea you’ll probably end up paying huge bills when you get home.  If you really want to waste a lot of time you can search for phone shops that sell second hand pay as you go phones.  Believe it or not I managed to find one when I moved there.  But trust me in saying that it’s not an easy or recommended option.

Your best option for a short trip is to rent a phone at the airport.  Most phone shops at the airport will charge you a large deposit (which you get back) and you can use a phone during your time in the country cheaply and easily.  Look for phone rental after you land.

Download a subway map

If you do have a device that you plan on using while in Korea I recommend downloading a PDF subway map.  The reality is that South Korea travel via subway is very easy.  Everything is translated into multiple languages (English being one).  It’s one thing the country does amazingly.

But I can’t tell you how many times I was stuck train hopping at a transfer station hoping for the best as I hadn’t studied the map prior.  It’s a really easy way to miss the train in Seoul especially as the trains come so often.

A PDF map will allow you to quickly and easily plan out your day the evening before and be a good reference for you.  You can find one with a quick Google search.  Look for a recent one as a few new lines have been added in the last few years.

Find a power adopter

So many people I know that head to Seoul or Busan for South Korea travel turn up and panic when they can’t plug in their phone to charge.  Very simple but easy to forget is that phone chargers are different here.

Don’t forget to get the right travel adaptor before leaving on your South Korea trip!

Learn some local etiquette

A little kindness goes a long way in Korea.  Check out these etiquette tips for your South Korea travel to make sure everyone talks about the great foreigner they met:

  1. Don’t let others pour their own drinks
  2. When someone pours a drink for you, hold the cup with two hands
  3. Take your shoes off when you enter someones house (and wear the sandals in the bathroom)
  4. Show respect to elders
  5. Show appreciation when someone cooks for you
  6. There are a hundred more but start small and ask for tips.  Making the effort is the most important

things to do in Seoul

Buy a transport card

The first thing you should do after landing in South Korea for travel is to get a transport card.  For South Korea travel this is the only way to go.  You can purchase one from pretty much any convenience store and top up the funds for them in store or at stations.

You’ll be able to use this card for almost all forms of transport in Seoul as well as purchasing things at a lot of stores.  Remember that if you venture further south to Busan you’ll need a different card all together.

Thinking about moving to South Korea?

One of the best ways to experience the county is to immerse yourself in the culture.  South Korea has a thriving English as a second language industry which employees a number of international teachers from the US, Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.  Check out ESL Search for job postings.

Do you have any tips for South Korea travel?

Comment below with your tips!

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