A few days ago I received my airline ticket itinerary from my school. I will be leaving Houston at 8:50am on Wednesday, August 22, arriving in San Francisco at 11am, continuing to Seoul at 1:10pm on Wednesday and arriving at 5:25pm Thursday, August 23. Basically, I lose 2 whole days, accounting for flight times and time zone changes. It will be 3:25am in Houston when I land. Good grief!
Seeing my itinerary, with my real name on it, with actual flights, is insane. Is this really happening?! All my preparations are actually paying off. I am MOVING to ASIA for a YEAR! I can't believe it. I also can't believe I will have to pack so little for an entire year!
I looked up my airlines, and the international portion of the flight is through Asiana Airlines. They allow 2 checked bags up to 50lb. Alright,no problem there. However, getting to that flight I have to fly through United which, besides the fact that I hate basically every domestic carrier besides Southwest, allows ZERO free checked bags. So, I must pay $25 for the first, and $35 for the second. Now, most of the time, if you book an international flight and your domestic carrier doesn't allow for the same baggage as the primary carrier, they must accommodate you. However, I did not book this ticket. A travel agent did, who worked with my school and recruiter. So, I have a dilemma...
If he booked my flights separate (which may have been cheaper), not only must I pay for the bags to get to San Francisco, but if my first flight is delayed and I somehow cannot make my international flight, I am screwed. I will have to attempt to get in contact with my school/recruiter and get another flight, which could take FOREVER (literally). However, if it was booked as one ticket, the airline must help me get to Korea.
Of course, when I emailed my recruiter to ask about how the flight was booked, she had no information. She said that the travel agent will call me this week to make sure everything is good to go. However, I have yet to receive this phone call...
Ah, well, such is life. I am more annoyed about the baggage and more scared about missing the international flight. I could be so screwed! :/ Yikes!
At least now I know that I can have 2 50lb bags, and may or may not have to pay an extra $60 to get them there. Now I can really start planning my packing...
I have read that I should not worry toooo much about clothes. Being a female, and a fairly style-conscious female at that, this is a dilemma. I want to bring ALL my clothes, not a few! I've read that the clothing there is inexpensive; also, if I buy it there, I know I will not make some horrible faux-paus of wearing a low-cut shirt to a traditional dinner or some other terrible ordeal. I still have no idea what my school's dress code is, but I guess I will just find out. So: pack only a week or two worth of clothes.
Now this is disturbing: Koreans do NOT, I repeat, do NOT wear deodorant. "How is this possible?!" you ask?? I too would like that question answered. But, it matters not. Because I DO wear deodorant. Thus, I will be bringing 3 sticks of deodorant.
I can't seem to figure out if Korean women use certain feminine hygiene products... Sorry, guys! But we ladies are picky about what we use, and if they don't have some Tampax Pearl, I might die. Well, not really. But if anyone can answer that question, I'd be grateful. Should I pack my own preferred brand of tampons?
I am prone to body-aches and headaches and all kinds of aches, especially when I am not sleeping in my usual bed which has 2" foam padding. Therefore, I have determined to bring my own Ibuprofen. I know it can be gotten in Seoul, but I would rather not take the risk of getting the wrong thing, and would rather not pay through the nose for it. So, Economy-size bottle of pain killers, vitamins, sleep aids, and other necessary medications.
Of course, my carry-on will contain my laptop, iPad, iPod, iPhone, and other various i-Devices. As well as their chargers! The great thing about Apple is their chargers are conveniently already equipped as power-converters. All I need is the Korean adaptor piece. The world travel adaptor kit that Apple sells contains one of these magic items, but with all my iStuff, I really need more. If you or anyone you know owns the travel adaptor kit made by Apple, and do not foresee going to Korea within the next 13 months, I'll happily take it off your hands. I can pay you for it, or return it to you after my time abroad. Please comment if you want to help me get Apple adaptor plugs for Korea. I suppose I will also need a few converter/adaptors for normal plugs, and of course some Korean plugs with USB or Mini-USB input. I am crossing my fingers I can find some either online at an expat buy/sell/trade site or some cheap ones at mini-marts in Seoul.
I am certain there are more things I will need to remember to pack, but for now, I will leave it at this. If you have any suggestions or ideas of what I desperately need for a year in Korea, comment! :)
I will be on a cruise next week and the following week returning to Houston for the Big Pack-a-thon, and will be updating you all further with my musings and findings of what I will need. Til then...