Korea is generally an easy place to pack for. If there’s something you forget off this list, it’s not going to be a trip-ender. However, knowing what to pack for Korea can save you money and confusion – who really wants to be shopping for deodorant while on vacation? So keep reading to plan ahead!
What to Pack for Korea – Clothing
Clothing is likely what takes up the most room in your bag already. Before following this guide, consider whether you are planning to do any clothes shopping while you are in Korea. Many people enjoy shopping for unique Korean fashions while on their vacations. If so, you can likely cut out a few things from this list.
Be aware, if you are planning this the sizes in Korea often run very small. Women, in particular those with any hips at all, should expect most pants to not fit or need to go up a size even if they are very skinny. Larger shoe sizes (above size 12 for men and 10 for women) are basically unheard of.
- 2 pair shorts or skirts
- 1 pair jeans or comfortable trousers
- 1 pair leggings or sweatpants
- 4 shirts (crop tops are not a common sight in Korea, I would avoid outside of Seoul)
- 1 dress or nice shirt for going out
- 1 swimsuit (for women, bikinis are basically unheard of but foreigners wear them frequently – just accept the stares :P)
- 6 pair socks (fresh socks are the best)
- 1 pair sneakers
- 1 pair flip flops/slides for showers and out and about
- 5 pair underwear
Although Korea is generally a fairly warm and tropical country, there is a reason the Winter Olympics were recently held there. Korea is absolutely covered in mountains, and those mountains can get very chilly and snowy. If you’re planning on hiking or traveling in the northern provinces, make sure you pack warm.
- Underlayers of some kind
- A jacket (puffer jackets are continually all the rage in Korea, so if you can bring one you’ll definitely be in fashion)
- Boots (particularly any that have waterproofing/rugged treads due to the uneven bricks that make up most sidewalks)
Toiletries & Other Small Items to Pack for Korea
While most everything can be found in Korea, it’s always nice to save yourself an unnecessary trip to a grocery store your first day. However, if you want to buy everything in-country, consider Daiso – Korea’s amazing answer to a dollar store. For ideas on how to stay on-budget in Korea, check out my Seoul Budgeting Guide.
- 1 travel towel (Towels are almost always quite small compared to what you might be used to. If you like having a real towel, bring your own)
- Toothbrush (most hotels and hostels will include toothpaste, only some will include a toothbrush. If your place doesn’t include toothpaste it’s still not worth the space in your liquids bag, it’s readily available everywhere in Korea)
- Deodorant (it can be difficult to find and expensive)
- Small lock for lockers
- Universal plug adapter
- Period products – if you prefer an option besides pads they can be difficult to find
- Tissue packs – surprisingly difficult to find
- General pain killers/common over the counter medicines – also can be a little hard to find depending on what you’re looking for. Not all pharmacists speak English and it can be very trying to attempt to communicate about medicine when you’re in pain.
Things to Avoid Packing
- Nice shoes – A lot of places in Korea are going to ask you to take off your shoes. Keep your shoes small and easy to take off in order to fit in shoe lockers.
- Super revealing clothing – it’s not too big a deal, but to avoid being cussed out my adjummas (middle-aged Korean women) avoid things that show off your chest as a woman. However, feel free to bring along shorts/skirts that are as short as possible, for some reason that’s totally fine.