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How I Spent 16,000 Pesos On My 1st Trip to South Korea Including Airfare, Lodging, Transpo, Food and Travel Tax

It's good to budget your travel expenses without breaking the bank but you must also make sure that you will enjoy it and won't have any regrets in the end.

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It is every K-fans dream to visit South Korea at least once so when I had a chance to go there in 2016, I made sure to enjoy it as much as I could without breaking the bank.

I was just newly-promoted then and my salary wasn’t adjusted yet so I had to fit everything within my budget. Good thing I travelled with my two bestfriends so I only spent 16,000 pesos for my round-trip airfare, accommodation, transpo, food and entrance fees. How I managed to do it? Here’s how:

(Note that the prices and forex might have changed by now.)

1. Roundtrip Airfare for 5,400 pesos only.

This was such a budget saver because a regular roundtrip airfare ranges from 10,000 to 20,000 pesos. Whenever there’s a promo fare, I usually check first the travel dates with the lowest airfare thru Traveloka.

2. Korean Visa for FREE without submitting ITR, Bank Certificate and Bank Statements

We were able to get our visa for free. But starting this year, visa application has to go through an accredited agency of the Korean embassy. Learn more about it here.

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3. Accommodation for 1,800 pesos only for 5 Days 4 Nights

We booked our place thru AirBnb. The room was good for 4 people and a walking distance from Myeongdong. If you are traveling in a group, you can book a hostel/guesthouse for as low as ₱500/head per night.

Sign up for Airbnb and get ₱1,600 off your first adventure here.

You can also check cheap accommodation thru Agoda.

4. We Plan Our Trip with Detailed Itinerary

We were full time employees then so we only had 5 days and 4 nights to do everything. Keyword: prioritization

What to do?

Where to go?

Our sample itinerary:

Other Sample Itineraries with Budget Breakdown:

But you can always customize yours. You may check some of our recommended fun activities and to-do’s here.

5. Shared Food Expenses

A regular rice meal in South Korea ranges from 5,000 to 8,000 KRW. That’s roughly 250 to 400 in pesos. There are packed meals that you can buy at convenient stores there ranging from 1,500 to 5,000 KRW, equivalent to 75 to 250 pesos.

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Since their servings are large, we just shared our food and split the cost. The more, the merrier, the cheaper the cost. Our budget was 500 pesos per day per head.

6. Free/Discounted Entrance Fees

There are places in South Korea which you can visit for free especially the parks. You can also go to all major palaces for free if you are wearing a hanbok.

For discounted tickets, we booked them via Klook.

*Disclaimer: 16,000 budget is exclusive of my expenses for pasalubong

I hope that this article will somehow inspire you to fulfill your dream to go to South Korea even on a budget. I also appreciate additional tips as I am not really expert when it comes to “pagtitipid”.

For first time travelers, check some of the frequently asked questions here.

It’s good to budget your travel expenses without breaking the bank but you must also make sure that you will enjoy it and won’t have any regrets in the end. For others, it can be a once in a lifetime experience so why not spoil yourself a little.

Work. Save. Live. After all, we don’t live to work, we work to live.

If you have any questions, just comment and I’ll try to asnwer them as much as I can.

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6 comments

  1. How did you know the places to go? Do you advice us to take a travel guide since we are not well versed in Korean language?

    1. Hi, I usually do my research for my itinerary so I won’t get lost even if I don’t talk that much with the locals. And some of the street signs are in english too so you’ll probably survive. For sample itinerary, you can check some of our blogs about it.

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