Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

How Much We Spent On A 17-Day Trip To Korea


by Bianca Tinoco



Planning a trip to Korea can be an exciting and memorable experience. From its rich history and culture to its vibrant cities and breathtaking natural beauty, Korea offers something for every traveler. However, before embarking on this adventure, it’s important to consider the financial aspect of your trip.


In this article, we will provide a comprehensive breakdown of the expenses incurred during a 17-day trip to Korea. By sharing our personal experience and insights, we hope to give you a better understanding of the financial aspects involved and help you plan your budget accordingly.


It’s worth noting that the cost of a trip to Korea can vary depending on various factors such as the season of travel, accommodation choices, dining preferences, and the activities you plan to engage in. We will share our expenditure details to offer a general idea of the expenses, but do keep in mind that your trip may differ.


Whether you’re a budget-conscious traveler or looking to splurge, this article will serve as a guide to help you estimate your expenses and make informed decisions when planning your own Korean adventure. So, let’s dive into the details of how much we spent during our 17-day trip to Korea!


Pre-trip preparations

Before setting off on our 17-day trip to Korea, there were several pre-trip preparations that we needed to take care of. These preparations not only ensured a smooth journey but also had an impact on our overall expenses.


First and foremost, we had to obtain a valid tourist visa. The cost of a Korean visa can vary depending on your nationality, so it’s essential to check the visa requirements and fees specific to your country. In our case, the visa fee amounted to $50 per person.


Next, we had to book our flights. The cost of airfare can fluctuate based on the time of year, airline choice, and departure location. We managed to find relatively affordable flights by booking well in advance and being flexible with our travel dates. Our round-trip flights from our home country to Korea totaled $800 per person.


Another important consideration was travel insurance. While not mandatory, having travel insurance provides peace of mind in case of any unexpected events or emergencies during the trip. We opted for a comprehensive travel insurance plan that covered medical expenses, trip cancellation, and lost baggage, among other things. The cost for travel insurance came to approximately $100 for the entire duration of the trip.


Lastly, we made sure to research and plan our itinerary in advance. This allowed us to estimate the entry fees for various tourist attractions and allocate a budget accordingly. Additionally, we checked the weather forecast for the duration of our trip to determine what type of clothing and gear we needed to pack.


All these pre-trip preparations helped us stay organized and ensured a hassle-free journey. By factoring in these expenses as part of our overall trip budget, we were able to effectively manage our finances throughout the 17 days in Korea.


Accommodation expenses

One of the significant expenses during our 17-day trip to Korea was accommodation. As budget-conscious travelers, we opted for a mix of different types of accommodations to balance comfort and cost.


We started our trip in Seoul, where we booked a guesthouse in a central location. The guesthouse provided clean and comfortable rooms with shared facilities. We stayed here for 5 nights and paid an average of $50 per night.


Next, we traveled to Busan and decided to try out a more traditional style of accommodation. We stayed in a Hanok, a traditional Korean house, which was a unique experience. The Hanok had basic amenities and offered a glimpse into the traditional Korean way of life. The cost per night for the Hanok was $80.


For the rest of our trip, we explored various cities and regions in Korea, including Jeju Island and Gyeongju. In these locations, we opted for mid-range hotels that offered comfort and convenience. The average cost per night for these hotels ranged from $80 to $100.


Overall, our accommodation expenses for the 17-day trip amounted to approximately $1500. By researching and comparing prices, we were able to find affordable options without compromising on comfort and safety. It’s important to note that accommodation prices can vary depending on the season and location, so it’s advisable to book in advance and explore different options to secure the best deal.


To further save on accommodation expenses, you may consider alternative options such as hostels, Airbnb, or even staying in temple stays for a unique cultural experience. With careful planning and flexibility, you can find suitable accommodations that fit your budget and preferences while exploring the beauty of Korea.


Transportation expenses

Getting around Korea efficiently and cost-effectively requires careful planning and consideration of the different transportation options available.


For our 17-day trip, we relied on a combination of public transportation and occasional taxi rides. In major cities like Seoul and Busan, the subway systems were convenient and well-connected, allowing us to easily explore different neighborhoods and attractions. The cost of a single subway ride varied between $1 and $2, depending on the distance travelled.


When traveling between cities, we opted for the high-speed KTX trains, which offered comfort and saved us time. The cost of KTX tickets depended on the distance traveled, and we spent an average of $40 to $60 per ticket.


For shorter distances or when exploring rural areas, we utilized local buses. Bus fares were relatively affordable, ranging from $1 to $5 depending on the distance and location.


In instances where public transportation was not convenient or available, we occasionally used taxis. Taxis in Korea are metered and generally affordable, with rates starting at around $3 and incrementing based on distance travelled.


Throughout our trip, we allocated approximately $250 for transportation expenses, including subway fares, train tickets, bus fares, and occasional taxi rides. By utilizing a mix of public transportation options and planning our routes in advance, we were able to minimize transportation costs while still having the flexibility to explore different parts of Korea.


It’s worth noting that there are also transportation cards available such as the T-money card, which offers convenience and discounts on fares. These cards can be used across various modes of transportation and allow for seamless transfers.


Additionally, if you plan to rent a car and drive in Korea, do consider the costs of fuel, tolls, and parking fees, which can add up. It’s essential to research and familiarize yourself with the traffic rules and regulations before embarking on a driving adventure in Korea.


By taking advantage of the efficient public transportation systems and planning your routes strategically, you can navigate Korea economically and enjoy all the sights and experiences it has to offer.


Food and dining expenses

One of the highlights of traveling to Korea is indulging in its delicious and diverse cuisine. From street food stalls to upscale restaurants, there’s something to satisfy every palate. However, it’s important to factor in food and dining expenses when planning your budget.


During our 17-day trip, we enjoyed a variety of meals ranging from Korean barbecue to traditional dishes like bibimbap and kimchi stew. We found that eating at local, budget-friendly restaurants allowed us to experience authentic flavors without breaking the bank. On average, we spent around $10 to $15 per person for a satisfying meal.


Exploring street food markets was another delightful culinary experience. We indulged in delectable treats like tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), hotteok (sweet pancakes), and various types of skewered meats. Street food prices in Korea are generally affordable, ranging from $1 to $5 per item.


For breakfast or quick snacks, convenience stores like GS25 and CU are abundant and offer a wide range of affordable options. We often grabbed sandwiches, kimbap (seaweed rice rolls), or instant noodles, which cost around $2 to $5.


Drinks are also an important part of Korean cuisine, and we enjoyed trying different beverages like soju, makgeolli, and traditional teas. The cost of alcoholic beverages varied depending on the location and type of drink, but on average, we spent around $5 to $10 for a glass or bottle.


As food enthusiasts, we also couldn’t resist trying out some unique dining experiences in Korea. We splurged on a few memorable meals at specialty restaurants where prices were slightly higher, ranging from $20 to $50 per person.


Overall, our food and dining expenses amounted to approximately $500 for the entire trip. By exploring local eateries, street food stalls, and making occasional indulgences, we were able to enjoy the rich flavors of Korean cuisine without exceeding our budget.


When planning your own food and dining budget, it’s essential to consider your dining preferences, the type of establishments you wish to visit, and the frequency of dining out. By being mindful of your choices and exploring the diverse range of options available, you can savor the delights of Korean cuisine within your budget.


Sightseeing and activities expenses

Exploring the vibrant cultural attractions and engaging in various activities is an integral part of any trip to Korea. From historical landmarks to natural wonders and thrilling experiences, there is a wide range of sightseeing and activities to choose from.


During our 17-day trip, we prioritized visiting famous landmarks such as Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul, Bulguksa Temple in Gyeongju, and Hallasan National Park in Jeju Island. Most of these attractions had entrance fees ranging from $2 to $10 per person.


In addition to the must-visit landmarks, we also participated in cultural experiences like traditional tea ceremonies, hanbok (traditional Korean clothing) rentals, and attending local performances. These activities usually had separate fees ranging from $10 to $30 per person.


To make the most of our trip, we also went on guided tours to learn more about the history and culture of each place we visited. These guided tours provided valuable insights and enriched our overall experience. The cost of these tours varied depending on the duration and inclusions, ranging from $30 to $100 per person.


Korea is renowned for its vibrant nightlife, and we couldn’t resist exploring the bustling streets and trendy neighborhoods. From lively markets and shopping districts to charming cafes and exciting nightlife spots, the options seemed endless. While exploring these areas was generally free of charge, we did allocate a separate budget for shopping expenses, which we will discuss later in this article.


Overall, our sightseeing and activities expenses amounted to approximately $400 for the entire trip. By selecting a mix of must-visit landmarks, cultural experiences, and guided tours, we were able to immerse ourselves in the rich heritage and vibrant experiences that Korea has to offer.


When planning your own sightseeing and activities budget, it’s important to research the entrance fees, costs of guided tours, and additional activities you wish to engage in. Prioritizing your must-visit attractions and choosing activities that align with your interests will help you make the most of your time in Korea without straining your budget.


Shopping expenses

Korea is often considered a shopper’s paradise, offering a wide range of shopping opportunities, from traditional markets to trendy boutiques and international brands. As avid shoppers, we couldn’t resist exploring the various shopping districts and indulging in a bit of retail therapy during our 17-day trip.


One of the most popular shopping destinations in Korea is Myeongdong in Seoul. This bustling district is known for its vibrant street markets, cosmetic stores, and trendy fashion boutiques. We indulged in some skincare products, cosmetics, and fashionable clothing items during our time in Myeongdong.


Another shopping hotspot is the famous Namdaemun Market, where we found a variety of goods, including clothing, accessories, and household items. The market offers a unique experience of bargaining and finding great deals.


In addition to local markets, we also explored shopping malls and department stores like Lotte Department Store and Hyundai Department Store, which offer a wide range of local and international brands. These stores feature a plethora of options, from luxury goods to affordable fashion.


As with any shopping excursion, setting a budget is crucial to avoid overspending. We allocated approximately $500 for shopping expenses during our trip. This included purchases such as clothing, accessories, skincare products, and souvenirs. By being selective and comparing prices, we were able to find great deals and buy unique items to remember our trip.


It’s also worth mentioning that tax refunds are available for tourists on purchases made from designated tax-free stores. This allows you to receive a refund on the Value Added Tax (VAT) when departing the country. Make sure to keep your receipts and visit the tax refund counters at the airport before leaving Korea.


Keep in mind that shopping expenses can vary greatly depending on personal preferences and shopping habits. Whether you’re looking for fashion items, beauty products, or unique souvenirs, Korea offers something for everyone. Just remember to set a budget and stick to it to ensure a satisfying shopping experience without overspending.


Miscellaneous expenses

Aside from the main categories of expenses such as accommodation, transportation, food, and shopping, there are always miscellaneous expenses that come up during a trip to Korea. These expenses can include various items and activities that don’t fit into the other categories but are still part of the overall trip budget.


One of the miscellaneous expenses we encountered was mobile data and SIM cards. Having access to reliable internet connection was important for us to navigate and communicate during our trip. We purchased SIM cards with data plans, which cost approximately $30 for 17 days of usage.


Another expense was laundry. As we were traveling for 17 days, we needed to have our clothes cleaned at some point. Most hotels and guesthouses provided laundry facilities, but there was a small fee for using them. On average, we spent around $5 for each laundry session.


We also encountered some unexpected costs, such as emergency medical supplies or over-the-counter medications. While these expenses were minimal, they were important to ensure our well-being during the trip. We allocated a small budget of approximately $20 for emergency medical supplies.


Additionally, we took advantage of some leisure activities like visiting local spas and enjoying a traditional Korean sauna, called a jjimjilbang. These activities provided relaxation and an opportunity to experience Korean wellness culture. The cost for a jjimjilbang visit was around $10 to $20 per person.


Lastly, we set aside some money for tips and gratuities. While tipping is not as common in Korea compared to other countries, it’s still appreciated in certain situations, such as for exceptional service at restaurants or when using tour guides. We allocated around $50 for tips and gratuities throughout the trip.


Overall, our miscellaneous expenses totaled approximately $150. While these expenses may not be the largest portion of the trip budget, they are still worth considering and factoring into the overall expenditure plan. By budgeting for these miscellaneous expenses, we were able to ensure a smooth and comfortable trip in Korea.


Total trip expenses

After accounting for all the various expenses incurred during our 17-day trip to Korea, we can now calculate the total trip expenses. By considering accommodation, transportation, food, sightseeing, shopping, and miscellaneous expenses, we can get an accurate picture of the overall cost of the trip.


Accommodation expenses amounted to approximately $1500, including a mix of guesthouses, traditional Hanoks, and mid-range hotels. Transportation costs, which included flights, subway fares, train tickets, and occasional taxi rides, totaled around $250. Our food and dining expenses, which covered a range of meals, street food indulgences, and occasional splurges, came to about $500.


For sightseeing and activities, we allocated approximately $400. This included entrance fees to attractions, cultural experiences, guided tours, and other activities that enriched our trip. Shopping expenses amounted to around $500, as we couldn’t resist exploring the various shopping districts and indulging in a little retail therapy.


Finally, our miscellaneous expenses, which included mobile data, laundry, emergency supplies, leisure activities, and tips, totaled approximately $150. These unexpected costs added to the overall experience of our trip.


Adding up all these expenses, the total trip expenses for our 17-day journey to Korea amounted to approximately $3,300. It’s important to note that this amount may vary depending on individual preferences, travel styles, and the specific choices made during the trip. By carefully budgeting and making informed decisions, it’s possible to plan a memorable trip to Korea within your financial means.


Remember, these expenses are based on our personal experience and may not reflect the exact costs you will incur during your trip. It’s always advisable to conduct your research, compare prices, and tailor your budget based on your own preferences and priorities.


Understanding the breakdown of expenses allows you to plan and allocate your budget effectively while still enjoying all that Korea has to offer. With careful planning and a bit of flexibility, you can embark on a memorable trip to Korea within your desired budget.



Embarking on a 17-day trip to Korea can be an exciting and enriching experience, filled with diverse cultural attractions, culinary delights, and vibrant cityscapes. By carefully considering and budgeting for the various expenses involved, you can ensure a memorable journey within your financial means.


Throughout this article, we have provided a comprehensive breakdown of the expenses we incurred during our trip. From pre-trip preparations to accommodation, transportation, food, sightseeing, shopping, and miscellaneous expenses, we delved into the various aspects of trip planning and expenditure.


By researching and comparing prices, we were able to find affordable accommodations that provided comfort and convenience. Utilizing public transportation and planning our routes strategically helped us navigate the cities without overspending on transportation expenses.


Indulging in the delicious and diverse Korean cuisine was a highlight of our trip, with a careful balance between budget-friendly meals and occasional splurges on unique dining experiences. Exploring the sights and participating in various activities allowed us to immerse ourselves in Korean culture and create lasting memories.


Shopping in Korea is a temptation hard to resist, with a myriad of options ranging from bustling street markets to upscale boutiques. Setting a budget and being selective with purchases ensured that we enjoyed the shopping experience without straining our finances.


Lastly, we allocated a budget for miscellaneous expenses such as mobile data, laundry, emergency supplies, leisure activities, and tips. These unforeseen costs added to the overall experience and ensured a comfortable and well-prepared journey.


After accounting for all these expenses, the total trip cost for our 17-day adventure in Korea amounted to approximately $3,300. However, it’s important to note that your trip expenses may differ based on your preferences, choices, and travel style.


By using this breakdown as a guide and tailoring it to your own budget and priorities, you can plan a remarkable journey to Korea that fits within your financial means. Remember to research, compare prices, and be mindful of your spending to make the most of your trip.


We hope this article has provided valuable insights into the various expenses involved in a trip to Korea and has helped you in planning and preparing for your own adventure. May your journey be filled with unforgettable experiences, breathtaking sights, and a true appreciation for the wonders of Korea.