₩on [원]: short for Korean Republic Won (KRW), a very spending-friendly currency.
Setting a fit allowance for your trip might seem like a challenge, but if you make a draft of your potential expenses, you won’t even feel burdened to spend money on your vacation!
Today, I’m going to share with you how to stay on/under budget during your vacation in Korea.
This is a very important detail, and probably the most important one on the list. When you arrive to the airport, you will find many currency exchange services, and you might be tempted to turn all your dollars into wons and be done with it, but I advise you not to.
The wisest choice would be to get an amount of 35,000 ~ 50,000 KRW at the airport (≈ 1075 KRW for 1 USD), which would be enough to cover your expenses for the first day. Once you have arrived to your destination, you can partially exchange your money every now and then upon demand. To benefit from the highest exchange rate, Myeongdong (≈ 1124 KRW for 1 USD) and Itaewon (≈ 1140 KRW for 1 USD) are your go-to destinations.
Before you step out of the airport, a T-money card is a must-purchase. This card can be used in subways, city buses, and taxis. You can get your own card for 4,000 KRW, charge an initial 20,000 KRW to move around, and recharge it whenever your balance is dropping below 2,000 KRW.
If you do not wish to keep your card as a souvenir, you can get a refund once you give it back in the designated convenience stores or machines.
During your staying period, you can either pay for your housing on a daily basis or at once. I would recommend the latter so that you can get at least one of your constant expenses in check. According to the accommodation you choose, the prices usually go from 15,000 up to 50,000 KRW per day.
Depending on whether you pick street food, a quick snack, or a full meal, the average cost of one meal is 1500 ~ 10,000 KRW. In order to get three meals a day, you must balance your portions between breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Based on your appetite, you can either choose to skip a meal, or completely let your inner foodie go rogue.
There are many activities in Korea that cost a minimum, but repay in loads of fun! I can’t set a budget for how much fun you should be having, but know that the least expensive leisure starts at 500 KRW, and the more fun you decide to have, the more money you spend!
Now, let’s not kid ourselves. You can’t set a budget on shopping because … you just can’t. But, you can estimate how much you’re willing to spend on clothes, accessories, cosmetics, and Hallyu merchandise. I believe that 100,000 ~ 250,000 KRW is a decent budget, considering that you will be buying everything as if your life’s depending on it.
Before I conclude this article, here is a little tip for you that was a tremendous help for me: I set a daily budget of 50,000 KRW, and whenever there was money left at the end of the day, I put it aside in an envelope. When my vacation was almost over, I used some of the money I saved to do some extra shopping!
That’s all for today! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, and stay tuned for more Hallyu gems. Until I see you next time, thank you for reading me.