What I’m Packing For Korea
Countdown update: T-minus 8 days! It is now crunch time…only not really because I already have everything packed and ready to go, lol. For me, it’s literally just a waiting game. If you have applied to the EPIK program then you should be very familiar with waiting.
Now I know there are countless YouTube videos out there and quite a few blog posts about what to pack when moving abroad, but I thought I would just share the things I personally packed for moving to Korea.
I have a luggage set that I have had since my freshman year of college that hasn’t gotten much use (because I don’t travel. Go figure). Therefore it is still in great shape. I have the three stairstep suitcases with a matching carryon bag and I have found that this is enough for me. So let’s get right into it.
I made sure to pack quite a few pieces of winter clothing including: sweat shirts, warm pajamas, long pants, sweaters, and a couple of hoodie jackets. I put these items in space bags to suck the air out of them and put them in my large suitcase. The reason I chose to pack winter clothing is because I don’t want to spend a bunch of money on a new winter wardrobe. I also happen to be very tall yet very slim. While I may be able to get by with buying summer style clothing in Korea, I know my arms and legs will be way too long to find items that fit for winter time. I even struggle with that here in the states #tallgirlproblems.
Along with being tall, I also have large feet because of it. I wear a women’s 8 ½ or 9 depending on the shoe brand and in my research, I have found out that women’s shoe sizes in Korea stop at 7 ½. You’re lucky if you can find a size 8. People who live in the major cities with western brand stores have a better chance at finding the larger sizes. But since I will be living in a rural area and most likely won’t have access to these western stores, I am packing almost all my shoes. It’s a good thing I don’t have that many, but it is a pain having to take them since they take up soooo much freakin space.
Work appropriate clothing
This one should be obvious as to why.
I’m moving to a country that does not cater to my hair type/texture. I made sure to bring enough hair products to last me for a year as I do not want to pay to have them shipped to me. If there are any kinky-haired naturals out there reading this, my favorite hair brand is Alikay Naturals. They can be a bit on the pricey side as they are almost 100% natural products but my hair has flourished under their usage and I can’t recommend them enough!
This one is completely optional. But I am bringing skincare products because my skin can be pretty finnicky at times. So even though South Korea is known as “the skincare capital of the world”, I don’t want to have to test out many different products just to see what my skin likes and possibly break out during the entire process.
I think these are just safe to have with you in case you need them. I hate going to the doctor. And even though going to the doctor in Korea and being prescribed medicine is waaayyy cheaper than in the US, I still don’t want to have to go when I can just take my own. Also, when it comes to menstrual cramps, I use one thing and one thing only and that’s Midol. I don’t know if they have this in Korea or not but I’d rather be safe than sorry. When it comes to cramps, bloating, headaches, and fatigue, Midol just works for me.
This should be obvious. Pack underwear folks.
I think it’s no secret that the deodorant business is not exactly booming in Korea. And as someone who has struggled since puberty to find a deodorant that even partially works for me, Korea is not the place I want to experiment. Unfortunately, I am a sweater. I can be so cold that I am actually shivering, and my underarms will still be wet. It’s not noticeable to other people unless I wave my hands in the air like I just don’t care; nor do I stink (I’m actually always complimented on how good I smell). But even clinical strength deodorants don’t keep me dry for more than an hour or two. The one brand that has worked the most (i.e. keeps me smelling the freshest and dry the longest) is Degree, the Motion Sense version. I packed 11 of them. Yes, 11. I don’t know if Korea sells this brand, but even if they do, I’m not willing to pay $10 for one stick of deodorant.
This is also completely optional. Korea sells cheap, good quality socks according to my current research.
Again, optional. If you don’t workout then this won’t apply to you. But I like to get my little workout on every now and then. Going for a nice run a couple times a week and doing a workout video in my room makes me feel good. Luckily my workout clothes fold up really small so I can fit more than enough into my suitcase.
Soap – I only packed enough to last me a week or two. Deodorant might not be in abundance, but I’m sure soap is. Lotion – Again, there are specific brands of lotion I like to use so I brought my own. Perfume – Only a few small bottles. I love to smell good.
I use one brand of pads and one brand only. I have tried others and I always come back to this brand, and that’s Always Ultra Thin. Once again, I don’t know if Korea sells this brand or what the prices are like, but as I absolutely don’t use any other brand, I couldn’t chance it. I packed two 5-month supply bags and a 3-month supply. That should last me for the year. I also packed feminine wipes as well. Gotta keep fresh, ladies. I have no need for pantie liners. While some women “trickle out” when it comes to the end of their monthly cycle, mine just cuts off like a faucet. That might be TMI but hey, just being honest.
Laptop, unlocked phone, USB sticks, power adapter, and portable power bank for charging things on the go. These are all necessary items in my opinion.
Please, please, please don’t forget to pack extra copies of your documents! I printed three copies of just about everything and I will be leaving some copies with my family so they can have all the important information. Passport photos are included in this as well. I have twelve extra photos and placed them in a small baggy to take with me. Also, be sure to print off any important emails and take them with you.
Miscellaneous (all are optional)
- A book for reading on the plane (you could always just sleep the whole way though. Choice is yours)
- House slippers
- Travel-sized first aid kit
- A notebook, pen, and pencil to get you started (Korea has huge stationary stores so I know I didn’t need to bring much)
- A journal (if you like to write, like me)
- Reusable water bottle (you can carry this in your hand. It’s going to be a super long travel day and I’d rather not be thirsty for 19 hours)
So that’s my packing list for moving to Korea! I still can’t believe this is actually happening but I am so excited for this opportunity. I don’t know what to expect living in a rural area, but I can’t help but feel that it will all be a life changing experience.