What to Pack When Traveling to South Korea

Lugagge for South Korea

What to pack when heading to South Korea on vacation depends on the time of year. As summer and winter weather conditions in South Korea differ greatly, so too do the essential packing lists for each season.

Required clothing also depends on whether a foreigner is going to South Korea on vacation or business, this article provides full lists of what to take in each case.

The first essential item for a trip to the East Asian nation is a South Korea visa or electronic travel authorization. Foreign citizens should check the visa requirements for their nationality before making other preparations.

What to Pack for Winter in South Korea

Winter is a great time of year to visit South Korea, with clear skies and little rainfall. From December to February, temperatures in the South Korean capital Seoul are often below freezing, the daily average temperature in January is 27.7 ºF (-2.4 ºC).

It is also snowy in South Korea in the winter, visitors should bear this in mind when preparing their luggage.

However, travelers should be put off by the cold weather and snow. Provided tourists pack suitable clothing, Korea is an enjoyable winter destination.

Essential clothes to pack when traveling to South Korea in winter

  • A warm hat, scarf, and gloves
  • A thick coat
  • Thermal inner wear such as long-sleeved tops and leggings
  • Thick socks
  • Jumpers
  • Long trousers
  • Waterproof shoes/ boots suitable for walking in the snow

As well as warm clothing, heat packs are useful for staying warm during the Korean winter. They can also be bought at a pharmacy on arrival.

What to Take to South Korea in Summer

Foreigners visiting South Korea from June to August can expect daily averages of 72 to 78 ºF (22 to 26 ºC). Temperatures can soar above 30 degrees in Seoul throughout the season.

In addition, rainfall is heaviest in summer in South Korea, so tourists should be prepared for a heavy downpour during the monsoon season.

Summer essentials for South Korea, therefore, differ greatly from the required warm winter gear.

Clothing list for summer in South Korea

  • T-shirts/short-sleeved tops
  • Shorts
  • Sun hat and sunglasses
  • Sandals
  • Swimsuit
  • Waterproof jacket

Foreigners should bear in mind that South Korean dress is more conservative than many western nations. Full swimsuits are more popular than bikinis and it’s a good idea to pack a cover-up or wrap when heading to the beach.

Footwear ought to be removed when entering a temple or a South Korean home, for this reason, it’s a good idea to wear shoes that can be slipped off and on easily.

Other essential items for visiting South Korea in the summer

To stay safe and comfortable in the sun and in the rain, especially when visiting outdoor attractions such as Bukchon Hanok Village, tourists should also take:

  • High-factor sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Umbrella

Year-Round Essentials to Take to South Korea

Regardless of the season, foreigners going to South Korea are advised to pack the following practical items:

  • Plug adapters: Korea uses Type C (Europlug) and Type F (German Schuko) plugs
  • Face covering for occasional high-dust levels
  • Prescription medication in its original packaging
  • Camera and camera equipment

What to Pack for a Business Trip to South Korea

Business travelers need to take into consideration certain South Korean customs and etiquette when preparing for a trip. The way business is conducted in East Asia may differ from back home, and this may include the dress code.

To make a good impression in corporate meetings, business people in South Korea should opt for formal clothing. Men are advised to wear a dark suit, white shirt, and a tie. Women generally wear a dark knee-length skirt and white blouse or a formal dress.

Dry cleaning services are available in South Korean towns and cities where suits and shirts can be laundered and pressed.

Business people should take some smart casual attire for networking events and other social gatherings.

Other items to pack for business trips in South Korea

Corporate travelers should take plenty of business cards with them. Exchanging business cards is part of the standard business introduction.

A power bank may come in useful for charging mobile phones on the move, especially when going between meetings.

Foreigners should consult South Korea’s visa policy to find out whether they are eligible for an APEC Business Travel Card.