What to Pack for Your Business Trip to South Korea
You know better than to forget your passport and toothbrush, but when you’re packing for your business trip to Souh Korea there are some things you want to double check to have in your carry-on. Afterall, you want to spend whatever free time you may get enjoying the country and not searching foreign streets for something you could have easily gotten around the corner before you left home. So before you get on that plane, make sure you have these items.
Korean Phrase/Etiquette Book
It’s good form to learn the basics of the native language of whatever country you’re visiting. Learning Korean can be a difficult task; it may benefit to take some classes, especially if your work is going to be sending you there frequently. However a backup phrase book can help you when you’re drawing a blank on something like how to ask for directions. Korea is also a very structured society and etiquette is very important. Of course, you’ll probably make a faux pas eventually, but educating yourself and trying to follow social norms is what will separate you as a business traveler rather than a tourist. Space saving tip: if you’re going to be spending your time in a large city like Seoul that has Wifi or data readily available, find language and etiquette applications and you can reference your smart phone or tablet instead of lugging around an extra book.
When doing business in South Korea, appearance is important. Dressing sharp will project a sense of professionalism that will put you in positive favor immediately. Pick out your nicest outfits that you know you look great in so you can feel confident and look your best. Shoes are particularly important; wearing a stylish pair of shoes in great condition shows you care about the details—something that is also valued in the business culture. The same can be said for belts, purses, briefcases, scarves, pocket squares, coats… you get the idea. South Korea has four distinct seasons (correlating opposite of those of Australia and New Zealand, obviously) so pack according to whatever season it is. Unsure? Mixing and matching light layers is always a good tip for packing.
Make sure you have the appropriate charger for every electric device you bring with you. In the home country of Samsung, it can cost more to buy something like a new iPhone charger so making sure you have yours can save you money. Same rule applies for laptops and tablets. South Korea has embraced the technological age with open arms so coming to a meeting unprepared because you the presentation you had stored on your now-dead laptop seems sloppy. Also, make sure you have the proper power converters. These you can easily buy in Seoul, but you may be able to find a cheaper one while you’re still at home. There are universal power adapters that morph into different sockets around the world like an ‘80s Transformer toy, but if you’re just wanting something Korea-specific, look for one that supports 220 to 240 volts.
It’s strange how a change in latitude and longitude can affect your skin and hair. Making sure you have your favorite toiletries that work best for you will mean you wont have to default to the cheap bar soap or shampoo in the hotel that will dry your skin out and leave your hair slightly greasy for your big business meeting in the morning. Specific things that are somewhat limited in Korea that you definitely shouldn’t forget: sunscreen, deodorant, and menstrual pads or tampons (for ladies).
If you take regular prescriptions, you should already know not to forget those. However, it’s also helpful to bring your stand-by treatments for minor pains, allergies, and indigestion. Yes, they have these things in Korea that you can buy over-the-counter. But regulations on medicines differ from country to country and it’s very unlikely that you’ll be familiar with every single ingredient listed on the package—after all, it’s probably printed in Korean. Having your standbys on hand means your can avoid a dangerous allergic reaction or accidentally taking something too strong. You don’t want to pop an over-the-counter painkiller for a minor headache that will leave you zonked for the rest of your day.
So you have your best suit, your deodorant, your heartburn medicine, and your phone charger… you’re all ready for your exciting business trip to Korea. However, if you’re the type who likes to be really prepared and invest your time into getting to know the culture through language, taking a Korean language course should be another box on your checklist. If you have some background in Korean but you’re not sure where to start, try our Korean level test to see where you are. Still have questions? Contact Language Trainers and one of our experts will be happy to direct you to the right program for you or your business team.