Packing for Korea and Japan

Packing for a holiday is always kind of stressful as much as it is exciting and fun. You are always left wondering, what clothes do I need to bring? What extras do I need? What should go in my hand luggage?

Well, today I am here to help you answer some of those questions by providing with a small checklist of what you should bring on your travels and showing you what I have packed for my trip to Korea and Japan.

If you are looking to pack light, I’m sorry, this post will not show you how purely because I always pack a lot more then I need, it’s an awful habit and it is something I want to get out of one day, but for now, I am just going to continue lugging around a huge suitcase.

So let’s start.

The Essentials

CLOTHES

TIP: Think about the weather

Little bit of an obvious thing but this can often affect how heavy your suitcase may become. If you are going somewhere colder, you may need to pack more jumpers and coats, making your suitcase heavier. Currently, in Japan and Korea, the weather is around 30 degrees and above so I tried to pack more on the lighter side because I will not need as much.

Also consider, Tokyo and Seoul are renound for their cool fashion and all that. If you are like me and know you want to revamp your wardrobe and you are going to buy quite a bit there, then pack less clothes with you to begin with to make more space. You can always wear your new clothes when you are travelling, that’s what I am planning to do.

Here is a rough checklist of what I am bringing clothes wise:

2 x Jackets (just for those colder nights and the plane)

5 x tops (Mixtures of crop tops and simple t-shirts. It is always best to pack more plain tops so they can match with more items)

4 x Dresses (Cute summer dresses are always a good option, means you basically have one day’s outfit sorted)

1 x Jeans (just in case it gets a bit colder)

5 x Skirts (mixture of more formal/dressy skirts and day skirts)

2 x Shorts (Comfy shorts- perfect for days when you will be walking around a lot)

2 x Swimming Costumes (Always good to have an extra set)

3 x Shoes (Pair of trainers, Vans and then some sandals)

 

TOILETRIES 

I often find it is my toiletries which make my suitcase heavy. Try and bring minimal amount of toiletries as possible because these are things you can buy when you arrive.

  • Buy travel sized items or buy travel sized bottles. I got a pack of 6 bottles from Primark for like £1
  • I am bringing my own shampoo and conditioner and all of that because this time I will be staying in Air BNBs rather than hotels
  • All my skin products: Cleanser, Moisturiser, Eye Cream (essential when visiting hot places where your skin will probably dry out)
  • I have these brilliant acne pimple patches from CORSX (a Korean beauty brand). They are these little stickers you put on problematic spots overnight and honestly by the next morning they are gone. A nice and lightweight skincare item to have when travelling.
  • Suncream. You could also try and bring make up which has SPF included in it.
  • Make Up: Probably what I find most difficult, I always end up packing too much make up. I am trying not to pack that much this time as I know I am going to be buying quite a bit, especially in Korea. My tip is to try and just pack one of everything. If you are wanting to bring some eye shadow palettes, try and pack two as a maximum because these often make your suitcase heavier too. Another option is to pack the single eye shadows so you save space as well.

DOCUMENTATION 

  • Passport
  • Student ID: If you are a student, it is worth bringing your ID. Often in museums and shops you can get a student discount and therefore, you can save money.
  • Flight Details: I always try and print out a copy of all my flight details just as a back up.
  • Copy of Insurance: I always try and print out a copy of my insurance just as a back up.
  • For Tokyo- Suica Card: If you don’t know what a Suica card is, it is like London’s Oyster Card. You can load money onto it to use on the trains around Tokyo. You can buy Suica cards in Tokyo but you can also order them online as well. It is worth having one of these, as it just makes travelling around Tokyo a lot easier and you don’t need to worry about constantly buying tickets to travel everywhere.

 

ELECTRICS

  • Camera: Bringing a tripod is also a nice idea as then you can easily take group photos and record things much easier. You can get small and portable tripods from any leading electric or camera shop.
  • Chargers: I would recommend packing these in your hand luggage as you never know when you may need to quickly charge your phone.
  • Portable Phone Chargers: These are really useful. If you are lucky enough to get portable WiFi in country and are able to use WiFi on the go, this can often drain your battery and you do not want to be out of phone battery in a country you may not know that well. Always bring a portable phone charger as they are super handy.
  • Adapters: Important that you remember to bring adapters. In South Korea, the standard voltage is 220 volts, so you will need the European plug/adapter (e.g. the ones used in Germany and other places in Europe). Japan, uses a different voltage, its voltage is 100 volts, so you will need a different adapter if visiting Japan as well. I find that in Japan, the voltage is quite weak and some of my electrical appliances such as my curlers will not work that well over there. So if you need any of these items, research into whether they will work when visiting Japan. These adapters are sold in Supermarkets, Boots, the airport and many other places. You can even get a adapter which covers every country, which I believe is around £30.

 

PERSONAL STUFF 

  • Money: In Japan, the official currency is the ¥ (Yen) and in South Korea it is the ₩ (Won). These currencies are very different from the British £ as both currencies start from around 100-10000. In the UK, we are not use to such high numbers on our notes, so I recommend doing some research before you go away to these countries to understand how much each note is worth.
  • Another important thing is to exchange your money before you get to the airport. It is widely recognised that at the airport, you will probably get the worst rate you could get. You can exchange your money at some large chain stores like Sainsburys and Marks and Spencer’s or through a Travel Company such as Thomas Cook. Think about converting your money a week or so before you are meant to go away, as some places won’t stock the currency you are looking for. The Post Office is a good option as they supply most of the currencies. Place your order on their website and it will normally be ready in the next couple of days- you can either get it delivered to your house or your local post office, it is a really flexible and easy system to use.
  • A Book: I think it is always nice to bring something to read when you are going away. Long haul flights can sometimes be a drag and at times I know I get bored of just continuously staring at a screen watching films. If you are spending ages flying, it is a great opportunity to get through a book. I would recommend bringing one decent/long book so that it has the potential to last you the whole trip. I decided to only bring one book this time as it is 600 pages long and I am a slow reader.
  • A Guidebook: Not only does it give you something else to read but it will give you more knowledge on the country you are visiting and will allow you to see what places you will want to visit.
  • A Notebook and Pen: I think this is always a nice thing to bring as well. I actually now have a small notebook dedicated to this trip where I have written all the places I want to visit, what things I am looking to buy and also some key phrases in Korean and Japanese. Bringing a small notebook like this means you also have the chance to write down new phrases or words you learn in the country you are visiting so it gives you a great chance to expand your knowledge as well.
  • A Luggage Weight Scale: Super important! If you are like me and have a tendency to bring a lot or buy a lot when you go away, you can often find your suitcase slowly increasing in weight. I always opt to purchase the biggest baggage allowance to give me leeway, however bringing a weight scale can save you a lot of hassle. I know in Japan especially, they are very strict with luggage allowance, anything slightly over, they will be charging you so it’s best that you know how much is in your case.
  • Medicine: I always bring Headache and Cold and Flu tablets and plasters. It is important to bring your own medicine because it is often hard to find these items in other countries if you don’t speak the language well. These items also have the potential to be quite expensive in other countries.

Top Tips for Packing

  • Try and pack everything in small bags: Not only does this make everything neater but it also helps to make finding things easier. Say if you have one bag for electric plugs, a shoe bag, a bag for all your toiletries etc. this makes the whole process of finding your things less stressful.
  • Pack a face mask: Often on long haul flights, your skin can get very dry. Pack a face mask in your hand luggage so you can use it during your trip. Also, pack some travel size skincare items so your skin is feeling fresh and looking glowy when you land.
  • Try and pack a couple of days before: Honestly, it is not worth the hassle trying to pack everything the night before. If you pack a couple of days in advance, this allows you to thoroughly check if you have everything you need. It also means you can always double check what you have and haven’t packed.
  • Hand Luggage? For a trip like this, I am using a backpack I brought from Japan as my hand luggage. This is because it is sturdy, secure and a good size. Using a backpack for your hand luggage is always a good idea as it means you can take a good amount of stuff with you onboard and it can often help you reduce the amount of items in your suitcase. I have also packed a smaller day backpack, a totebag and a nice side bag in my suitcase, these will come in handy for daytrips, nights out and for general shopping.

 

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