Sunday, May 16, 2010

What should I pack? The best suggestions I can give to all those deciding what to bring to Korea!

So this blog is for all of you who want to know what to bring to Korea. Maybe you are thinking about moving to Korea, or maybe you just bought your tickets and are in the process of packing, or maybe you are my mom and are just loyal enough to read this blog even though you'll never live here. Anyways, for those of you who just don't care, then watch the video at the bottom and move on, I won't be offended : ) . (The video can't be missed so don't forget) I'm just writing this because I wish someone would have given me a list of things to bring when Danny and I were packing, and also it's because I'm avoiding doing work. (whoops!)Anyways, here are some warnings before I go on: this list is only from my own experience so some of you will be in cities and say, "Why did I bring all this junk?" and blame me for your over packing, but that can't be helped. Also, Danny and I came from the US where we could bring 4, 50 lb. bags with us, plus carry-ons so for those of you (if any) who might read this from another country, sorry about your packing weight restrictions!

OK! On to the list of things to bring to Korea:


-Year supply of deoderant (you can find it, it is just really expensive and they have few brands)

-Shampoo (if you like a specific brand, otherwise don't waste the weight and just buy it here)

-Travel face wipes (for the flight over and traveling, such an easy way to make you feel clean)

-Razor or electric razor - if you have a brand you really like, just bring enough blades for a year

-Girls only: the Diva Cup - look it up online but it is an amazing and eco friendly way to bring only one thing with you to help you with that time of the month.

- Make up: only if you like specific brands, otherwise they have a ton here. Don't believe all the packing lists that say they don't really sell make up, it's a lie...there are 4 or 5 "Bath and Body Works" type stores or make up stores in our town and it's considered a "small town".

(Don't worry about bringing contact solution, toothpaste, tooth brushes, contacts, body wash, floss, or nail polish because they have it all here)

For Cooking (I love to cook so this might be a more extensive list then you want)~

-Spices: don't waste the weight on salt and pepper (they have it here) but bring things like seasoned salt (Tony's Creole, Lawry's), TACO SEASONING (A must if you like mexican. I would suggest going to Costco to get a jumbo size to last a year) Garlic Salt, Oregono, Basil, Thyme, Onion Powder, Sage, Cilantro, Bay Leaves, Nutmeg, or anything else you use a lot. (I also had my mom send me a packet of seeds to grow my own herbs in the summer if that is up your alley, I would really suggest bringing it, especially basil and cilantro because they don't really have that here)

-Vanilla extract or the real stuff

-Corn bread mix or corn meal if you can't do without corncakes and gravy like Danny and I ; )

-Chocolate Chips~ quoting my ingenious aunt, use chocolate chips as "packing peanuts" and even if it melts, what's better then something covered in melted chocolate? : )

-Any snack food that makes you feel like home ~ for us it was trail mix that lasted us about 3 weeks to ease us into Korean food...other suggestions are Pop Tarts, Oreos, REAL Cheetos, nuts, gum or mints, etc.

-Instant gravy packets~ they don't have breakfast sausage here if you like country gravy

- Coffee: if you like good ground coffee, you aren't going to find it hear so bring some or have someone send you it.

Household Items~

- Towels: if you really want big, soft towels, I would suggest bringing your own.

- Sheets: bring a queen set of sheets if you are willing to tuck stuff in if you end up with a full or twin sized bed. (We brought full sheets because everyone told us that is the biggest bed here and they were wrong... we ended up with a queen size bed. ; )

- Down comforter: this is not a necessity, but everyone comments on how cozy our bed is because we brought our own comforter and duvet cover and they shrink down to nothing if you have a vacuum packing bag.

- Thin cutting boards: get those flexible cutting boards that are the thickness of a piece of paper, they work great and are useful for a lot of things.

- A couple good knives

- Pillows: only if you can't live without yours...


- A really (and I mean REALLY) warm jacket for the cold winters

- Bras: girls if you are not a 32b you might have some trouble here finding your size

- Good walking shoes

- Long underwear

- Gloves

- Hat (it's not always cold, but when it is cold, it is COLD! And clothes are expensive in Korea.)

Misc. Stuff that I suggest~

- Pictures of home and your friends and family so you can decorate your apartment with friendly faces.

- A few gifts from your home state... to bring to people when you visit their home.

- A few favorite movies but don' t bring too many because other people have a lot and they all have told me they regret bringing so many.

- A few books if you like to read.

Above is a list of things that you may or may not need/ and if you really try hard or get a Costco membership in Korea, you can find other western foods and conveniences, but it depends on how prepared you want to be when you get here. (I wanted to be REALLY prepared so some (Danny:) might say I over packed) Thankfully, there is always the ability to send stuff by mail, so give your family a list of things you miss and perhaps you'll get a care package in the mail sometime!

Now, here is a list of things that you DON'T need to bring, in fact you might even get some stuff cheaper here. I somehow had it in my mind that I was moving to Antarctica or something so I packed the world.

Things you don't need to worry about bringing:

- Extra contacts or glasses: it is insanely cheap to get your eyes checked here so don't bring a huge stock of contacts

- School supplies: don't waste room on bringing things for your class or school if you are coming to become a teacher

- Straightener or hair dryer: they have them here and the different voltage can be a problem for US hair stuff if you aren't careful.

I know there is a lot of other stuff that I would suggest or not suggest, but just think about all the things you think you REALLY need, and then leave behind all the rest. There is something very freeing about living on so little so why don't you try it for a year.

Also, last thing...There is a beautiful website called G Market that was a live saver for Danny and I when we were setting up our apartment, so if you really need some things, I would suggest going on G Market and looking up stuff that you might need. Danny and I bought a rug, couch, lamps, coffee table, storage boxes, a fan, mirrors, a french press, and a lot more on G Market and all of that was around $300 for all of it! Make sure and be careful when you order on G Market because you have to make sure you are ordering the right product since all of it is in Korean, it can get a little difficult. Just match up the letters and you'll be fine!

I hope that was too much to handle. Now you can enjoy a halarious video of Danny singing at our first No Rae Bong experience... R Kelly... awesome.


  1. Yeah Danny! You even had your own back up dancers. Sweet!

    I'm wondering if you guys could access Netflix instant movies that you could watch on your laptop, or if you even tried that. Just a thought. We love ours!

    I've got a recipe for homemade taco seasoning that you might be able to throw together over there. Let me know if you want it.

  2. You know what I really want to know? HOW do you bring all that stuff? I can't imagine getting to Korea with more than one suitecase and my backpack.