Packing for South Korea: What I Wish I Packed

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I’m honestly not sure what I was thinking I would land into when packing for Korea. I knew I would be gone for about a year and that I wanted to do a capsule wardrobe. But honestly I feel I brought everything I didn’t need to and left everything I now wish I had packed.

I read to definitely pack toothpaste and deodorant. Korean toothpaste doesn’t have fluoride and I’m pretty sure it has sugar in it. Similar to how the butter and bread taste sweet when it just shouldn’t — but that’s another story.

I managed to pack toothpaste and deodorant and all the right shoes. I’m glad we brought a hammock and our sleeping bags but there are several items that really weren’t necessary to pack. 

When it came time to prepare clothes for Korea, I thought black, white, and grey. I truly should have listened to my grandma when she asked, “Aren’t you going to throw some color in there for something exciting?”

I look at my (very limited) options and think, “hmm, should I wear black, white, or … grey today?” Yes Grandma, you were right! I should have brought some color!

I spent some of my last days doing last minute shopping, spending extra cash on items I don’t even wear. Why did I leave my go-to anchor print t-shirt, comfortable patterned maxi skirts, and favorite turquoise dress? I guess it will feel like a special holiday when I return home to a closet of clothes. (Mom, you haven’t sold those, right?) 

This one’s a little embarrassing — James and I were doing yoga in Salt Lake so I figured we’d continue the routine. So umm yeah, we packed yoga mats. HA! We moved to South Korea. A first world country. There are yoga mats in Daiso, the dollar store in Korea, for like 5$! Do you know how much space yoga mats take in a suitcase? Enough said.

We also packed our ESL TEFL books (which we haven’t touched). Did I mention those put our suitcases over the weight limit? 

I wish I had brought my favorites. My everyday clothes that I was wearing. I know my style and what clothes I like so I should have packed those clothes! 

I wish I had been real about my destination, South Korea is a country that has just about everything. It has makeup and nail polish and toothbrushes and shampoo and body wash and earrings and scarfs and socks and … you get the idea. 

I was trying to pack minimally. However, there’s a smart way to pack minimally and a wrong way.  

What are your must haves when packing for a trip? What tips do you have for packing smart? I’d love to hear! Leave a comment below.

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2 Replies to “Packing for South Korea: What I Wish I Packed”

  1. Leslie A Chalfant says: Reply

    My Norway packing experience sounds a lot like your Korea one. I packed all the wrong items.I guess that is what happens when it’s your first plane ride/ big trip like it was for me. 🙂 I’m glad I’m not the only one who has trouble when it comes to packing!

    1. It’s so hard to determine what items you’ll really need and actually use! For how many times I’ve packed a suitcase I still have not perfected my packing list! You are definitely not alone on the struggles of packing.

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