6 Essential tips to help plan your perfect trip to Korea
Do you dream of traveling to Korea? Have your countless hours of drama watching inspired you to take a vacation in Seoul? Here are 6 helpful tips to get you started in planning your own epic trip to Korea. From where to stay to what to bring, these tips will help get you ready for your own amazing adventure!
1. Pay attention to the weather
When planning your trip, be sure to think about what time of year you'd like to go. Temperature-wise, spring and fall are the most comfortable. Fall, in particular from September to early November, is often described as the optimal time to go due to the changing leaves and the large number of dry and sunny days. Spring in Korea is also very pleasant, usually lasting from mid-March to May. Even better, this time of year brings the added bonus of seeing blooming flowers.
If you do go in the winter, be sure to bring plenty of warm clothing! Temperatures can easily dip below freezing, but this is a plus for those wanting to partake in winter sports like skiing or snowboarding. Summer in Seoul can also get very hot, so be sure to prepare yourself accordingly. On the plus side, there's plenty of bingsu (shaved ice) and ice cream treats in Korea to help you keep cool!
2. Try out some non-traditional (traditional) hotel options
One way to add an extra special element to your Korea trip is to book your lodging at a more unique type of housing. In particular, looking into hanok homestay options is well worth your time! Usually these traditional homes will include a homemade Korean breakfast, and you may even get the chance to try on a hanbok, the traditional Korean clothing. It's a great chance to experience the Korean culture in ways that you won't be able to get at a normal hotel. Just be ready to curl up on the floor at bedtime!
Another great option is to book an apartment through services like Airbnb. Seriously, staying in a Korean apartment or traditional hanok will make you feel just like you're living in a drama! I've stayed in both before and they really made my trip even more amazing. Depending on how long your trip is, you may want to try out both an apartment and a hanok homestay. The apartment will likely give you more space than the hanok, but a couple of nights at a hanok is still a very fun experience!
3. Learn some basic Korean phrases
While many people in Korea do have a good grasp of basic English, it really can make a huge difference in your trip to know some simple phrases. In particular, knowing the Korean alphabet is a huge plus and will be very valuable when trying to navigate your way around Korea, especially outside of Seoul. Start your studying now so that you are ready for when you go on your trip!
4. Do your research
There are plenty of great blogs and YouTube videos out there to help give you some great ideas! Google will become your best friend as you start to plan out what great things you want to do while you are in Korea. Blogs like Seoulistic, Eat Your Kimchi, and Seoul Searching all have a ton of great information about traveling in Korea on their websites.
5. Make a detailed list of places you want to visit
Your years of drama watching have likely already given you a long list of places you'd love to visit. Now it's time to turn those dreams into reality! It's important to mark down the key destinations you want to see before you arrive in Korea. Mapping out the locations will help you plan how much time you'll need for each activity. Do you have a favorite K-drama? Do some quick googling to see if there are any filming locations nearby where you'll be staying! If you make a detailed list, you'll be able to make sure that you are seeing the most you can during your trip.
6. Get your smart phone ready
There’s free wifi all over the place in Korea, and you’ll want to be able to tap into that while you are traveling around. Your device will often become your lifeline, helping you navigate the extensive subway system or quickly translating a phrase into Korean. Now's the time to download helpful apps like Google Translate so that you can hit the ground running once you land in Korea. Also be sure to bring an external battery pack to make sure you never run out of power!
Check out even more helpful smartphones tips for Korea here!
Have you traveled to Korea? What other travel advice would you give to first time travelers? For new travelers, what questions do you have about traveling in Korea? Share your thoughts below!