(Gyeongbokgung – Gyeongbok Palace)
The results of overpacking? There is a reason they call it overpacking! I totally had it right when I was backpacking. Let’s take a look at what I brought and what I totally didn’t need to bring and what I wish I had brought and what was right on the money!
Check out text in red. Red means I have come to a conclusion about what I packed…and it’s not always pretty.
- Lots of extra underwear. You don’t want to be stuck without clean underwear. Cuz…just no. Definitely glad I did this! Had ZERO time to do laundry.
- I crocheted a bunch of accessories to bring with me. They’re cute. They deserve to be worn! These would’ve worked had it been colder. I still would do it ’cause I got to wear a few of them and they were a major hit! “Where did you buy that?” “I made it!” BWAHAHA
- Hair product and makeup. I’ll be meeting some people and doing some interviews. I don’t want to be unprepared. DEFINITELY bring again. This was so useful.
- Extra SD cards, flashdrives, and batteries. Again, you don’t want to be left without. God forbid you see SHINee and you run out of space on your SD card! TRAVESTY! I would bring even more batteries this time and NOT FORGET MY FLASHDRIVES ON MY BED! I would also bring an external hard drive.
- Snacks and a book for the plane. Or something to entertain yourself. Boredom on a trans-Pacific flight could be death. Yes! I got so so so so so hungry and the snacks saved my biscuits, even when on the subway! The book helped a lot too. Fifteen hours is a LONG time to travel.
- Your electronics. For me those are my camera, my phone, my tablet; the tools of my trade! Definitely worth it. Perhaps a few more lenses for my camera even.
- Charging cables, adapters, and if you need them, converters. I brought a converter for my hair straightener. YES! So helpful. I thanked myself many times for these, especially the multiple adapters. I had trouble with the converter for the hair straightener…but the Ritz had American style outlets, hooray!
- First aid – bring everyone you’d use at home ’cause you don’t want to take pills your body is going to reject. And also, prescription drugs! Plus bandaids for your heels. I don’t use the fancy stuff. By the time you buy it, you have calluses anyway. Yup! I ended up popping a blister (and caring for it with the first aid) while I was there and it was so much easier to walk with it popped. I didn’t even remember I’d gotten it.
- Bring travel-sized bottles of your shampoos and lotions. You don’t want to have to get used to new product. If you’re skin is like mine, it gets testy without it’s usual routine. YES. Traveled size is totally enough for two weeks. I had product left over.
- Copies of your important information just in case something happens and you lose it or it gets stolen. I didn’t need it, but I was glad I had it! Plus they take up very little room
- Email loved ones itineraries. Glad I did, but this also wasn’t needed on this trip.
- Copies of travel insurance…please don’t lose my bag American. No lost baggage, just harried traveling! But still totally worth it. I’ve lost baggage before and it’s hell.
- Print out your itinerary so you don’t have to look it up. YES! Loved having it on hand while traveling. Made life so much easier.
- Double check your international calling plan or get a phone when you arrive. Don’t get a calling plan through your company, just buy a Korean SIM card. You can’t use wifi unless the carrier is the same as your SIM card, but if you’re like me and you only communicate through Kakao Talk (it has voice calls, too) the 44,000 won (about $40) is totally worth it. You get unlimited data! Or you can get an Egg for wifi , but they require charging. Also very handy, depending on your needs. Verizon, you didn’t cut it. I called you twice to ensure I had calling minutes and you didn’t work when I got there. Shame.
- Pack your passport and cash in a safe place. I’m keeping mine in a bag in front of my belly, like I normally do. Definitely worth it. I had hands on access at all times, or I put it in the safe in my hotel room. It was nice controlling my cash spending by only pulling out what I wanted to spend for the day from the safe.
- Figure out your credit card and cash situation. What are your exchange rates and international charges? Is it better to order from the bank or pull from a foreign card friendly bank or atm? Many machines do NOT take foreign cards. Go with some money just to make sure you have some immediately usable when you arrive, but my usage fee on my Wells Fargo card was minimal so I felt comfortable using it for larger payments. (Gifts for Lil’ Raine. YOU BETTER LOVE ME, SISTER!)
- Mix-and-match outfits. Cuts down on suitcase space! Should’ve done more of this although I wore most of what I brought.
- Presents for hosts. Bring something that originates in your country or your town. Plus, when you give them away, you’ll have room to bring stuff back! Definitely worked to free up space to bring back gifts, and the gifts were appreciated.
- I also brought extra notebooks, pens, toilet paper and sanitary wipes, and they were all useful. I took notes at random times, and I also went to bathrooms that had run out of toilet paper.
(Korean Traditional Folk Village in Yongin)
What I WISH I’d brought or left:
- I brought TOO MANY SHOES! And then I went and bought more. I wear them all at home, but so not necessary. My flats, one pair of nice shoes, and my sneakers would’ve sufficed. Like I normally pack on trips abroad. Why change what works?
- I should’ve brought more than one pair of jeans!
- One more phone battery. In Korea, do like the Korean do and take LOADS OF SELFIES. With modern phones, battery life is terrible. If you’re like me and are constantly on social media, batteries die quickly. I had a portable charger, but sometimes the extra battery would’ve been easier to carry around.
- More clothes with pockets. Change, receipts, you name it, I wish I’d had the opportunity to pocket it.
Again, I’m sure I’m forgetting things, but that’s the gist. The trip was AMAZING. Thank you KOFICE for the amazing experience. Stay tuned Dichotomy readers. I will be posting lots of news on HanCinema and make sure to follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to keep up with all of the news!
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