Being away from home for over a month, I can understand how difficult it could be to budget, at least in the beginning. It’s a new country. It has new places to explore, new things to buy, and new things to try. All of this can quickly get really pricey and as college students, we don’t have that much of a luxury to spend. So of course, budget, budget, budget! Or at least try!
If you want to have fun, but also not overspend, you should try keeping a weekly budget. Set an amount for food and another for shopping/fun/games. Plan who you want to buy souvenirs for and set a budget for the whole trip. When you go out and see something you might want to purchase, ask yourself, “Will this fit in my suitcase when I have to go home?”, “Will I have to spend extra to ship some stuff home?” It definitely is a struggle when you first arrive, but as you begin to visit the same places, the urge to spend slowly diminishes. I promise.
Speaking of souvenir shopping, South Korea has a lot of stores that sell really adorable products! Whether you are in Hongdae, Myeongdong, Sinchon, Gangnam, or even Busan, you are bound to run into one of these shops. I think the three most popular stores here are Kakao Friends, Line Friends, and Artbox. And if you are anything like me, this is where all my money would end up!
Kakao Friends is home to the famous characters such as Ryan, Apeach, Muzi, and Frodo. No matter how many times I go, it seems like there’s always new products! Based on observation when traveling, I think Kakao are the most popular characters here. I’m pretty sure that I’ve never went out and did not run into someone who has some type of product from them.
Another of my favorite stores, Line Friends, has Brown the bear, Cony the rabbit, Sally the duck, and in the past year, the BT21 collection. BT21 are characters created by the popular kpop group, BTS. I’m unfortunately a sucker for BT21, so you would probably see me sporting their items on a daily basis. 🙂 We actually have some Line Friends stores in the United States, so there is a large possibility that you have seen the Line characters around Philadelphia! The closest one to us is in Times Square New York, so if you ever visit there, be sure to stop by!
Lastly, is Artbox which is home of the Galapogos Friends collection. They have so many different characters, I cannot list them all. I will say that Oliver the bear is definitely my favorite! Before coming to Korea, I had no idea these characters existed, so it was a pleasant surprise (but not for my wallet)!
All three of these stores have it’s own unique products. I think the best thing about these stores is the decorations and really large statues you can take pictures with. Some of the bigger versions of these stores, like the Hongdae Kakao Friends and Line Friends, have cafes where you can enjoy lovely dessert menu food and drinks! It’s a bit pricey, but you should definitely enjoy it at least once!
Even though I’ve been here for awhile now, I still love to visit these stores whenever I see one. I look forward to searching for other cute stores that are not part of these three chains! 🙂