Packing For Korea: Boys

I had to do a bit of polling and stalking various expat groups on Facebook to compile a list of what boys should bring for their big move to Korea. I think I’ve got a pretty good rough outline, but I think asking perhaps other male expats and doing a bit more research would be wise – unless, of course, you trust me completely, dear friend. I’d never steer you wrong, anyhow! I did my best to compile as much information as I could about what guys should bring to Korea. Happy packing!

Stuffing Bags for final Shuttle

What To Bring:

1. Deodorant

The only deodorant for men found in grocery and drug stores is a spray on by the brand Nivea. If I could so delicately add my own humble opinion here, fellas, please use sparingly. Coming from a girly girl who tends to date clean cut boys – this deodorant is awful! It hardly stays put and wears off after just a couple hours.

In those hot, humid, sticky, and downright sweaty Korean summer months, you’ll want something a bit more reliable. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to you if you prefer to go au natural. However, if you’re a guy who doesn’t dig smelling like a lumberjack in the woods who can kill a beaver with his pit stench, then stock up on those nice smelling deodorants and have your family ship you more as needed.

2. Cologne

You could always buy your signature scent at the airport’s duty free shopping area, but it is a possibility that your first pick might not be stocked. Luxury good items like brand name colognes and perfumes are marked up in Korea, so I’d recommend bringing your own from home. I wrapped my large bottle of Daisy by Marc Jacobs in a sheet of bubble wrap and sealed it in a ziplock bag. It kept it safe, but was still easy to get to should my bag be checked for random screening-which it was, but I didn’t mind. I almost feel bad for the security guard. I imagine his giggly face breaking my luggage lock hoping to find a giant can of mace in my bag, but instead finding pretty perfume in a daisy shaped bottle.

3. Shoes

If you wear a shoe size larger than a 10, it might difficult to find shoes that fit. Please note that I said “difficult” and not “impossible.” You should bring at least one pair each of tennis shoes, dress shoes, and sandals. When it comes to sandals, you should be careful depending on where you are placed. Some schools and certain older generations of Koreans get offended when they see “flip flops,” sandals are most often worn in Japan.

4. Pants

The average height of a Korean man is 5’8’’ so keep this in mind if you happen to be slightly more stretched out when coming to teach English in Korea. While chain shops like Uniqlo and H&M carry longer pant sizes, their stock is sometimes limited. Pack a few good pairs of pants and shorts that you know fit well.

5. Voltage Converter

6. Gift For Your Co-Teacher

It’s sweet and thoughtful to give your co-teacher, who will help you during your time in Korea, a small gift. It’s even more thoughtful if the gift somehow represents you or where you’re from. Being Mexican American, I brought my co-teacher a small bottle of tequila. She literally clapped her hands and giggled when I gave her the present. (FYI: Alcohol is fine to gift in Korea. In fact, it’s a great gift!)

7. Good Drip Coffee

If you like brewing your caffeine at home, you might be discouraged by the lack of variety and prices of whole beans and ground coffee in Korea. I’d suggest bringing a bag or two from home, and then buy bags online at places like iHerb or High Street Market when you run out.

What To Leave At Home

1. Hair Styling Products

Korean men are all about fashion and style, so beauty products are abundant in Korea. Often times, though, they are heavily scented, so if you have an allergy, you might want to go ahead and bring a couple bottles of unscented products.

2. Your Entire Collection Of Business Suits

School dress is often business casual, so maybe only one “in case of emergency” suit should be packed.

3. Your Hot Sauce Arsenal

Korea has more than enough hot sauces and chili peppers for you to enjoy burning your taste buds off.

4. Comfort Foods Sold In Korea

Some western foods are found in abundance in Korean convenience stores so there’s no need to bring a year’s supply from home. Snacks like Pringles, Snickers, Oreos don’t need to take up any space in your luggage.

Packing Tips

1. Vacuum Seal Space Savers work wonders for small suitcases.

2. Always carry a change of clothes and travel sized hygienic products in your carry on.

3. Don’t pack the night before.

4. Don’t worry about forgetting anything. You can always go online shopping or have your friends and family mail your forgotten items.

I hope your organizing and packing is going well for you. If you’ve already made the move to Korea, what did you feel was absolutely necessary to pack with you? Tell us in a comment below!

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