You either get bitter or you get better. It's that simple. You either take what has been dealt to you and allow it to make you a better person, or you allow it to tear you down. The choice does not belong to fate, it belongs to you. – Josh Shipp
Since I received such positive feedback on my previous blog, 10 TRAVEL TIPS BEFORE VISITING SOUTH KOREA, I wanted to share a few more tips that can be useful to travelers, especially those that may be seeking to stay in Seoul for more than just a week or two, and specifically those that are Korean Adoptees #KADS. I've been living in and out of Korea for more than two-years and I've avoided cell phone contracts and noticed that as a savvy budget traveler South Korea has one of the absolute CHEAPEST monthly prepaid services in the world when comparing the use of FREE accessible Wifi. I pay exactly ₩13,800 ($11.95) per month.
The one thing to note is this is really only beneficial if you are staying within Seoul proper to have access to all of the FREE public Wifi, specifically while using the subway. People in Korea rarely use text messaging, but Kakao is king as I posted in my previous blog and therefore the use of data can be minimized. Also, as a traveler that often likes to jet off for a week or a month or more, I can discontinue service, and keep my Korean number without adding prepaid service for up to six months. While there are other options, I've chosen to specifically talk about Olleh KT, which is what I use and am most familiar with to use as an example. As I say with anything, don't just take my word or the words of others but DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH because traveling abroad will have you hitting your head about things you should have done or brought with you that you may not be able to do outside of your home country. Therefore, here are the four simple steps to setting up your cell or mobile phone in South Korea.
STEP 1. CONFIRM YOUR PHONE IS UNLOCKED
STEP 2. LOCATE A STORE
Also, if you go in the afternoon you may wait for more than an hour. Lastly, the two important rules to note:
1) In Korea you CANNOT activate a phone over the weekend (Saturday or Sunday)
2) You MUST be in Korea for more than THREE DAYS from arriving before you can setup your cell phone.
STEP 3. BRING YOUR PASSPORT
STEP 4. CHOOSE YOUR PREPAID PLAN
When it comes to my data plan, once again I choose the minimum plan that provides me with 300MB for 3G 500MB for LTE and the reason I choose this plan is because it's the minimum that allows for FREE ACCESSS to the Olleh Wifi on the subway and around the city.
While the data may also seem very limited, I've learned to turn off my CELLULAR DATA and the most data I think I have used in a 30-day period was about 200MB. I have learned to stay off of Facebook and other social media apps that will chew through your data and I only flip this on when I am in areas of the city where I cannot access any free public wifi, but normally I keep it switched off. As you can see from the screen shot at the top of this blog, I've only used 31.1MB and that was mainly because I was trying to help my homie Jacob get a pair of the exclusive Jordan 12's through the Nike App, which I was able to do! And even then I still used a limited portion of my cellular data.
Therefore this is how you can visit Korea, short or long-term and keep your cell phone plan to a minimum cost, unlike signing up for a contract that can be equivalent in cost to the plans in the States. I hope this helps any budget traveler that may be coming to visit Korea.