Visiting Seoul: Tips & Tricks
This is a collection of advice I give to anyone and everyone who asks me about visiting Seoul or traveling to Korea. I'll keep updating this post as I get more and more frequently asked questions, and I hope this is helpful!
International Phone Plan vs. Pocket Wi-fi
If you don't have an international plan (or don't want to pay for one), you should definitely opt for a pocket wi-fi device. You can rent them from Incheon Airport and return them before you go through security when you leave Korea. KT and SKT both provide these services, and the daily rate is quite cheap (through end of 2018, KT is running a promotion where the daily rental fee is 50% off, so it's KRW 4,400 instead of KRW 8,800 — basically $4 per day). Honestly, unless you get a great rate from your cell provider, the pocket wifi might be the best choice. And the connection speed is fast, whereas most international roaming speeds are a lot slower. Also, don't bother with SIM cards. They're super expensive, you have to keep reloading them and it's a hassle. If you're flying in and out of Incheon, these pocket wi-fis are the way to go.
Bring a portable battery
Whenever I travel, I like to bring two of these, so I can use one during the day as needed and charge the other at the hotel/house while I'm out. Especially if you're roaming on an international plan, your phone most likely will use up more battery quickly. You can also use it to charge the pocket wi-fi so you have a steady cell connection all day. These Anker ones are my favorite and have lasted me a long time—three years and counting!
Wear the most comfortable shoes you have
No seriously. I know everyone says this about traveling, but I triple mean it for Seoul. I think I gave up on heels within the first two months here ('heels' meaning booties with a low block heel). Honestly, even if you take cabs everywhere, you end up walking a lot unexpectedly (including a lot of unevenly built stairs). So figure out which of your cute sneakers or flats are the most comfortable and make 'em work with your outfits.
Renting a car? You need an international driver's permit.
Pay $20 at any AAA and show your US driver's license, and they'll issue you an international one that looks like a big passport. We've used Lotte Rent Car, which is great because they have a lot of locations, an online reservation system that's in English, and no pre-payment needed. Bring your passport and the international driver's license. The website won't tell you that you need your passport, nor will the confirmation text messages. We had no idea so Bryan had to go back home and get it.
Questions? Let me know.