125 lbs to Seoul: 5 Words to Remember When Packing

3 Oct

There are 2 types of packers in this world: the Kitchen Sinkers and the Chemists. I am a chemist, one of those freaks who packs two weeks before the trip, then pack and re-packs and packs again. In my head I’m slowly shaving the fat and assembling the best possible suitcase. In reality my fellow compulsive packers and I are all just waiting for the inevitable moment when we put our bags on the airport scale and receive our final verdicts is.

There are 5 word that will help you in your quest for perfect packing.

1. LimitsThe only good thing about international flights, beside free wine, yes I said free wine and beer, the only thing you pay for is hard liqueur- usually. I digress, the only good thing is you can normally take  125 lbs worth of stuff with you. It’s usually two checked bags weighing no more than 50 lbs per bag, and 25 lbs in your carry-on and one personal item (purse or murse).  Here are the links for the airlines that are heading in the general direction of Korea, Korean Air and Asiana Air . The links will help you figure out your baggage limit.

2. Weather. The easiest thing to do is look up your city on weather.com or even just Wikipedia and check out the annual highs and low for each city for the month(s) you’re going. Can you get any jackets that will do double duty? Nice enough for a night out and possibly snowboarding the next day? North Face has a new line of stylish coat specifically their Grace Trench Coat that can roll up to the size of a parka but has all the stylish of your favorite Macintosh and its half the weight. 

3. Schedule. You should be honest with your self about what your planning on doing during this trip. If it’s all beaches and night clubs, then pack sundresses and flip-flops. However, if its museums, night clubs, and a side job then pack a couple nice shirts, some pants and a going out dress and heels, you get the idea. Personally, I know that as much as I enjoy the great outdoors I will be going out four to five days a week and hiking once or twice a week.  There is no reason I would need to bring five pairs of hiking pants and my hiking boots even my regular work out stuff with sneakers will be just fine. From what I’ve heard Seoul is a city that dresses to the nines 24/7. You should also see how everyone else is dressing before you go if you can. It may sound a very conformist but from what I’ve heard if I dressed the way I do in Seattle in Seoul I would look like a bum. I understand to each his own and all that nonsense but in some countries this isn’t just an issue of fashion.  I am talking about a country’s traditions and views. In many countries all over the world personal appearance is a matter of pride for people. They do not wear ratty t-shirts, and they’ll wonder why you insist on doing so. How you dress can also help you when it comes to security as well. With many crooks targeting travelers it helps to disgust yourself as much like a local as possible not flashing around that fancy new phone or camera helps as well.

4. Duration. This is more for the backpacker question but for me a one year TESOL contract is just the way it is. You definitely want to think about how many seasons your going to go through.  Also you should know if you’ll be able to buy the clothes you’ll need in the country your going. I’ve heard it’s a problem for busty women and giant guys (or vice versa) in asian countries. My rule of thumb is for 6 months+ of travel bring enough clothes for 3 weeks. But when you have more that 2 seasons to pack for I say, for every 7 days you pack for 2 of those should be season specific.

To review the duration equation is:

(7 outfits x 3 weeks) = outfits for <6 months 

[ (5 outfits x 3 weeks)- (2 seasonal outfits x 3 weeks) ] = outfits for <6 months for variable seasons            

Total Days Traveling/2 (or 3 if your feeling really bold)                                                            

5. Money. Not really a rule but an undeniable truth. I don’t know how many times I found cool items at St Vinny’s and other local charity shops for next to nothing. Items that you can guarantee will always be available these are also items you DON’T NEED TO PACK. These “always available” items are typically jeans, shirts, or dresses. Even Helen Mirren shops at charity shops when she goes abroad.

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