korea, koreanlife, travel

Moving in Korea On the Cheap

Last summer, I changed jobs. I went from teaching with EPIK in the small, rural city of Namwon to teaching with GEPIK  in Suwon, the capital of Gyeonggi Province and a satellite city of Seoul.

Obviously, I would have to move yet again, as my apartments were given to me from my employing schools. That, and the fact that I wouldn’t have been willing to commute four hours every morning regardless.

I’m pretty well-acquainted with moving. I’ve moved at least once every two years since I turned eighteen – from Atlanta to France and back, then to Korea – but I never had to move within another country except the US. I was used to severely cleaning out my closet to a suitcase or two’s worth of stuff, getting on a plane, and feeling grateful there was no way I’d ever end up on an episode of reality television about hoarders.

To move in Korea, then, would be a bit of a different challenge.

There are plenty of English-speaking services to help expats move in Korea, and a lot of them offer really great services. There are a lot of different grades to choose from as to how much they help, ranging from some old guy in a truck that makes a lot of questionable noises to services which will pack you up, transport everything, unpack, and – best of all – clean everything.

However, nearly all of the move in Korea services – save for the old guy with the truck, and that was one conversation I was happy to skip – were much more expensive than I was willing to pay. As my apartments were both fully furnished – and moreover, as studio I’d be moving into was much smaller than my old two-bedroom apartment – I couldn’t see any real reason to shell out several hundred dollars to halfway fill a moving truck.

Instead, I decided to exploit my friends move in Korea myself.

Renting a car isn’t too difficult to do in Korea if you’re over 25, just like back in the US. I got a Korean friend to help me rent a SUV that my exploited friends I could pack all my stuff in. Fees to return the car to a different location than I had rented it at were astronomically high, so I instead opted to do a round-trip voyage from Suwon.

I became very well-acquainted with k-pop’s top 40 hits during that car ride.

Overall, I think that renting a car to move in Korea by yourself – especially if your apartment already has furniture, like mine did – isn’t a bad idea. You’ll save yourself both money and an awkward conversation.


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