You had finally booked your first flight to Seoul and searching for more information about places to visit while you are there. Probably you might be also thinking “if only there’s a way to cut some budget”.
I had traveled to Seoul twice and with some understanding of the Korean cultures and time spent researching about Korea, so I thought of making a list that could be of some help about ways to keep your money to your own pocket.
1. Free water, or some time rice tea
In my country, restaurants charge customers even though it’s just a cup of water. Instead, in Seoul, once you sit down at the table, you will be greeted with a bottle of cold water, free! What’s even more better, it’s refillable, just ask the staffs and they will bring you another bottle. What if there the ahjummas/agashi/ajuhssi aren’t serving you any water? No worries, check around the restaurant to see if there’s any water dispenser, basically it’s for you to fill up your cup.
2. T-money The very first thing to do when you step foot in Korea is to get a T-money from any convenience shops for only 2,500 won, you can either refill it straight from the shop or at any of the machines in subway stations. Subway, taxis, buses accept this card and it doesn’t only help you to save time without the need of queuing and buying your tickets, you can also save 100 won off your fares as compared to buying tickets by cash.
A side note, T-money have no expiration date, so you could keep and reuse it whenever you return to Korea.
3. Try to avoid taxis
Some people would prefer to go by taxi, but hey, Seoul has a great subway system which is connected throughout many districts and areas, grab the subway map at the stations, hop on the right train and track, and happy riding! Even nowadays buses are getting a lot of attention from the travelers and tourists too, not to forget that Seoul had launched it’s night owl buses recently.
4. Free samples
When I read online regarding free samples was given to anyone who enter the skin care shops, at first I didn’t really trust it, not until I was there myself. While walking around Myeongdong, the shop assistants were ushering customers to go in have a look at their products and handed you a basket which they already had sample(s) in it. We didn’t bought anything but we took the samples *I felt guilty taking it, but my mom isn’t*. But if you were to buy any products from them, they will give you more samples at the counter. So, maybe you can buy 1 item at a shop, at a time, you might find yourself with lots of samples which can be used while you’re moving around.
5. No tipping culture
Tipping in Korea is not necessary. Unlike the Western culture, Koreans doesn’t practice the tipping culture, and some shops even banned customers from giving tips to the staffs. You can definitely save some bucks in Korea.
6. Stay in guesthouses or hostels
Nowadays, guesthouse and hostel businesses are blooming in many country, thanks to those who are traveling on a budget that motivated a lot of owners to start their own little cozy place for travelers and tourists to stay. In Seoul, you can easily find a guesthouse in mostly every corner ranging from 18,000 ~ 25,000 depending on the place. Why pay more to stay in a luxury hotel when you only need a comfortable place to spend the night and do your business?
7. Free Walking Tours
If you search on the internet, you could sometime find Korean students giving free tours to foreigners, allowing them to know more about the culture and history of their country, as well as making some new friends for language exchange. You can check out a Facebook page which provide free walking tours to tourists.
Hopefully few of these tips may give you some insights about saving costs when traveling in Seoul.