Kiki Lin, ’25, is a Computer Science major studying at Hanyang University this Summer 2023
After being in Korea for a month now, I have learned a thing or two on what are the essential things to bring to South Korea in the Summer. So here are 5 things I would recommend packing before you come in the Summer!
First, let’s start with the very basics, clothes. I recommend packing a week’s worth of clothes. I think a week’s worth is a good medium between too little and too much. This is because this will allow you to only need to do laundry roughly once a week. If you are lucky, your accommodations might even have a dryer for you to use! I know many people who needed to air dry their clothes and I also have done that a couple of times. It takes a very long time since in the Summer, it’s hot and humid. Additionally, it could rain at any moment since it’s amidst the monsoon season in July. Therefore I think a week’s worth of clothes is a good medium for not doing laundry very often. Most people I knew, bought a lot of clothes here as well so you can always go out shopping. Depending on where you shop, the clothes here are really affordable! I’m talking as low as $5! If you are more plus-sized, it may be a little more difficult to find clothing but there are places! Sizing tends to run small. It also helped if you brought basics that you could mix and match pieces as this reduces the amount of clothes you bring so you have more space to buy other things here in Korea! Korea gets really hot and humid, so I recommend lightweight clothing like linen or loose cotton material.
Second, bring slides or Crocs for the downpouring rain in the Summer. From late June to late July, it is monsoon season. During this period, Korea experiences heavy rainfall and high humidity. Though I think it was okay this year as it didn’t rain as much as I had imagined but it was still a lot. On days when it was raining, I wore Crocs! It is actually really common for Koreans to wear Crocs as I see it pretty often. If my feet were going to get wet anyway from the rain, I might as well embrace it is what I thought. I had Korean pop dance class in the evening so I would go home quickly and grab my shoes so I can switch into them in class. So, if you had some event that requires you to wear sneakers, I would recommend putting them in a bag and bringing it with you. This also keeps the socks dry!
On the topic of footwear, the third thing I would recommend you bring is a pair of comfortable shoes! Seoul is very walkable and so you will most likely do a lot of walking. Within a couple of days of arriving, I developed a blister from all the walking. Therefore, I would recommend comfortable shoes! I brought a pair of running shoes with cloud-like soles and I wore them majoring of the time. With both shoes and clothes, being comfortable while traveling is my number one piece of advice.
The next thing I would recommend to pack is deodorant. I have heard that deodorant is not common here in Korea. Though I haven’t really gone out to look for deodorant, I have never encountered anywhere that sells it. I would bring one from home just in case. In addition, I’m sure if you’d looked into what to bring and not to bring, they would recommend bringing a bath towel. Before coming, I also didn’t know if they would have bigger bath towels, so I brought one just in case. However, I want to inform you that they do sell bigger bath towels here in Korea and you can find them at Daiso!
Lastly, bring a camera. If you don’t have one, make sure you have a lot of space on your phone because Korea is beautiful, and you will be taking a lot of photos and videos. I’m not entirely how much space on my phone I came with but by the third week, I ran out of storage, and I had to do a deep clean. It was at least 10 GB of storage from all the videos and photos. That’s the most photos and videos I have ever taken within this period of time. Going to a music festival in Korea is probably a big reason why…
It’s really up to you what you want or don’t want to bring to Korea. These are just some of my recommendations and this is just the bare minimum. There are a lot of things that I’d say you can buy here in Korea instead of bringing. Make sure to bring an empty suitcase because the amount of shopping you do will be more than you’ll think. If you had set yourself a budget for this experience, I applaud your efforts but most people I met who also budgeted did not follow their plan. If you plan to come to Korea, make sure to have extra savings and have fun!