Traveling to Korea

10 Things to Do Before Traveling to Korea – The Essential Guide for a Hassle-Free and Safe Trip

Hello, everyone! I know you’re excited about your upcoming traveling to Korea, and I’m sure you’re getting ready for it! Based on my years of traveling around the world, I’ve put together a list of things you should check before you arrive. I hope this guide will help you prepare for your traveling to Korea, and I wish you a relaxing and enjoyable time!

traveling to Korea

1. Visa and passport preparation

  • Verify passport validity (must have at least 6 months remaining on date of entry)
  • Check if your nationals are eligible for visa-free entry (for short-term stays of 90 days or less)
  • Apply for a visa through an embassy or consulate in Korea if necessary
  • Check the type of visa (single, multiple, e-visa, etc.) and length of stay
  • Prepare documents required for visa issuance (passport, photo, application form, financial proof, etc.)

For more information, check out our guide to entering Korea for foreigners: Passport, visa, and K-ETA information.

2. Book a ticket and select a seat

  • Book flights to Korea early to get the best price. These days, it’s easy to find the cheapest flights with a Google flight search.
  • Choose a direct flight or a layover (allow enough time for connections)
  • Pre-designate your preferred seat (window, aisle, emergency exit, etc.)
  • Earn airline miles and check availability
  • Understand ticket change and cancellation policies

3. Choose the best place to stay

  • Choose the right type of accommodation (hotel, guesthouse, Airbnb, etc.) for your travel goals and itinerary
  • Consider location, access to public transportation, nearby attractions, etc.
  • Check the room type (single, double, twin, etc.), amenities, breakfast included, etc.
  • Compare prices and book through the accommodation booking site
  • Receive a confirmation email and voucher after booking

4. Prepare cash and cards

  • Pre-exchange KRW, the currency of Korea, or plan to use local ATMs
    If you want to learn more about Korea’s currency, the won, see Korea’s currency: A practical guide for foreigners.
  • Bring enough money to cover your average daily expenses per person
  • Bring a credit or debit card that works abroad
  • Notify your issuer that you’ll be using your card abroad before you use it
  • Keep a copy of your card and issuer contact information in case of loss or theft

5. Get travel insurance for your safety and health

  • Choose the right coverage for your trip length and activities
  • Check your coverage for injury, sickness, liability, loss of belongings, and more
  • Provide accurate personal information and itinerary when applying for insurance
  • Carry a copy of your insurance policy and contact information for your insurer

6. Prepare for good communication

  • Learn basic greetings and simple conversations in Korea
  • Install and familiarize yourself with a translator app (Papago, Google Translate, etc.)
  • Sign up for roaming service for your phone in Korea or plan to buy a local SIM card
  • Practice reading Korean menus and ordering in restaurants to make your life easier while traveling

7. Pack smart for travel

  • Choosing clothing and shoes for Korea’s seasons and travel itinerary
    To learn about the seasons in Korea, see Korea weather: 4 seasons guide for expats.
  • Make a checklist of essentials, such as personal hygiene products, medications, and chargers
  • Check suitcase and backpack sizes and weight limits
  • Keep valuables and necessary documents in your carry-on hand luggage
  • Pack liquids in individual containers of 100 ml or less in a zippered bag

8. Familiarize yourself with tips for completing immigration declarations

  • Immigration Declaration Form is a mandatory document to fill out when entering Korea
  • Distributed on board, available in both Korean and English versions
  • Accurately fill in your personal information, contact details in Korea and accommodation address
  • Check the appropriate box based on the purpose of your visit (tourism, business, study, etc.)
  • Sign your name in the signature box after completing all items

9. Understanding Korea’s culture and customs

  • Greetings in Korea (bowing rather than shaking hands is common)
  • Dining etiquette (‘thank you’ before meals and ‘thank you’ after meals).
  • There are also important everyday etiquette, such as removing shoes indoors.
  • Be mindful of public behavioral norms (don’t talk loudly, stand in line, etc.)

10. Traveling to Korea, gathering useful local information

  • Get travel information from the Korea Tourism Organization website and guidebooks
  • Refer to online platforms such as travel blogs and YouTube
  • Organize local information such as Korea’s typical food, shopping spots, transportation, etc.
  • Familiarize yourself with maps and public transportation routes in areas you will visit frequently
  • Save emergency numbers in Korea (112: police, 119: medical/fire)

Congratulations, you’re now fully prepared for your traveling to Korea! We hope this guide has been of practical help in preparing for your trip to Korea. Traveling in an unfamiliar place can sometimes be unexpected, but if you prepare thoroughly beforehand, you’ll be able to overcome any challenges. We wish you a trip to Korea that will be filled with wonderful memories!

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