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Tips and Tricks for Flying to Korea

May 16, 2013


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This is probably one of the most practical TL;DRs we’ve answered in a while. Back in the day before the world of these TL;DR videos, we used to have a huge FAQ section on our website that we updated regularly and religiously with tons of helpful info, but we soon discovered that taking the time to update the FAQ page was…a total waste of our time. We still received tons of emails asking us questions for just about everything we had taken the time to write about. Even when we replied to someone’s email with a link to that page, some people still emailed us back asking for a direct response! Grumblecakes!

And so, that was how our TL;DR videos started: to answer commonly asked questions in video format since it seems most people are unwilling to read the answers. Reading’s dead! People want videos instead! But not you guise, since you’re clearly reading this blog post right now. Or maybe you’re not? Maybe we should make a TLDR video about why we made TL;DR videos?

Okay! On to the extra tips and tricks for flying to Korea! If you already watched the video we mentioned briefly about packing and travel on the plane but we didn’t get the chance to talk about what it’s like to arrive at Incheon Airpot.

Just Arriving

First off, if you need to make a phone call, do it at the pay phones while you still can. There aren’t a lot of pay phones in Korea, so you might not get the chance to tell your family that you arrived safely.

Secondly, grab a snack at the local convenience store in the airport. For less than a $2.00 you can get a lovely rice triangle and bottle of water or head to the Paris Croissant for a pretty decent sandwich or some baked good that you can pop in your bag. Trust me, it’s going to take you at least 30 minutes to get to wherever you’re going from here on our.

The Subway

If you’re taking the subway from the airport, you can buy a T-Money card (“tee-cah-duh”) in either plain old regular card format, or as a slightly more expensive cute dangling thingy that hooks onto your cell phone at the local GS25 convenience store inside the airport. You buy the card (just once), then put money on the card and just “beep” it to get on the subway, bus, or even taxi. The advantage of these are that they save you money with every trip and they are rechargeable at convenience store and at the subway themselves but NOT on the buses or in taxis. Plus, you don’t have to know where you are going, you beep to get on the subway, and beep to get off the subway and the machine does all the math for you. If you don’t want to buy a t-money card, head to the subway located under the airport (there are tons of signs) and you’ll have to buy a ticket BUT you’ll have to know the name of the subway stop you are going to in order to buy a ticket. See why t-money card are great? ROBOT TAKE MY MONEY BEEP! We did a video about Korean subways a while ago… a LONG TIME AGO

The subway in Korea is awesome but if you have lots of luggage it will be awful. The airport subway line is pretty empty and spacious but as you transfer lines onto the more populated lines, you’ll have a hard time getting through the crowds and finding an elevator to take you between levels, so I really recommend the bus or a taxi if you have lots of luggage.

The Bus

When you exit the airport, the first ring of roads are for the buses while the second ring is for taxis. There are tons of buses that take you in many directions so I recommend you check out this site to help you with where you are going and how long it will take.

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If you bought a t-money card, you can just beep onto the bus and depending on if it’s a fancy bus (the driver will come down to help you load your luggage under the bus) or if it’s a normal bus (driver stares at you struggling to get your luggage up the stair and onto the bus) it will cost between $2.50 – $15.00. We normally take the bus when we are traveling light and don’t have any animals. Here’s another video we did about using T-Money cards


Once you leave the airport, the taxis are divide according to where they will travel (for example, some go to Seoul, some don’t). There are also English speaking helpers waiting by the taxi stand and help people communicate with the taxi driver. We didn’t have those when we arrived five years ago!

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There are three kinds of taxis available. The standard taxis, starting at roughly $2.40, the luxury taxis (it’s just a black taxi with leather seats…oooohhh) starting at $4.50, and the “jumbo” van taxis also at $4.50. If you have two people and four pieces of luggage plus carry-ons, you’ll have to take the jumbo taxi to fit in everything. Advice for using taxis: if you pass by a toll both, which you probably have to, you’ll have to pay an extra $7.00 or so that will be tacked on at the end of your journey so don’t be surprised.

Buuuuut, if you travel between midnight and 4:00am the normal taxi’s meter will start at a higher price (that’s normal anywhere in Korea) HOWEVER if they try to suggest a flat cash rate or refuse to use the meter they are trying to rip you off, so get a different taxi. To give you an idea, going to Seoul in a normal taxi has cost us around $70.00 during crappy slow traffic in the early evening, and around $50.00 for quick moving traffic. Honestly, if you’re really exhausted from both jet lag and a bagillion hours on the plane, then falling asleep in the taxi is the way to go. You don’t have to worry about missing your stop and you can always save money on the way back to the airport by taking the subway and bus once you’re fully awake.

Ok! So those are your options! Let us know if you have any other travel tips. Wow. This blog post feels like a government page or something. Too much information!

Oh, and lastly, if your noodles come undercooked while you’re on the flight, feel free to abuse the flight attendants. HA JOKING! We’re not CEOs



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