So you gotta move to Korea. Or from Korea. Or in Korea. Whatever. You’re in for a big headache no matter what. The #1 task is to find the people who will minimize the inevitable stress that comes with packing up everything you own and getting it safely to a new “home.” You’ve come to the right place.
The first way to avoid a headache is to find someone you can communicate with – and everyone on this list qualifies. We’re also going to try to help guide you to the best choice possible for your unique situation. We’ve put up headings for every possible move, so if you’re in a hurry, scroll down until the heading fits the kind of move you’re looking to make.
Moving Companies vs. Relocation Agencies
The definitions are constantly conflated. There are real estate agents calling themselves “relocation agencies” and there are logistic companies who move your stuff but call themselves “relocation agencies” as well. There are also plenty of “relocation agencies” who don’t move your stuff themselves, but instead outsource the moving to someone else and provide other services like immigration visa and house-hunting assistance.
Suffice it to say, you’re going to want to understand what services they offer directly and what services they outsource to others before you make the choice. Once you choose, you’re pretty well stuck.
Korea Domestic Move vs. International Move,
Corporate Relocation vs Personal
Hence, for our purposes, this list is based on the type of move you are making and who is paying for it. Obviously a domestic move doesn’t require the expertise that an international move does, and if the company is paying for it you may not require the same information that another company does.
Corporate Relocation to Korea – Someone Else is Paying
The following companies can do everything for you; they move your stuff, they find your house, they get your kids a school and they’ll get you a Korean teacher – for the right price. They’re international, they’ll handle your move directly, and they’ll answer all your questions. There’s a good chance that even the people packing your valuables will speak English. If you want a stress-free international move and money is no object, then the following options are the way to go:
One of the biggest in the world, they have 3 locations in Korea. Besides the headquarters in Seoul, they have another in Busan and another in Pyeongtaek for all you military folks who will be moving in and out of Korea. If Uncle Sam is paying, they’re a good choice.
Another giant player whose website claims they move 70,000 families a year, their Seoul office is in Yongsan-gu right across from Yongsan Train Station and Allied Pickfords. If you’re leaving Korea and want to meet two international movers in one trip, kill two birds with one subway trip.
With offices near Seoul’s lovely Insa-dong and the American Embassy, if you’re moving downtown and you’ll be living in Seongbuk-gu or another upscale neighborhood just north of downtown, then it could be handy to use a full-service relocation located nearby.
Your Personal Concierge: English-speaking Relocation Assistance Companies
These folks help make it a nice, soft landing wherever you’re going. They don’t move your stuff, but they have affiliations with companies who do and they’ve done it plenty so they are likely get you a good deal – if they’re not looking to make money on the move too. (Get bids on the whole move before pulling the trigger.) They’ll also coach you on Korea or your next stop, sharing all the ins and outs of how to get used to life in your new country. Many of them will become your good friends too. They likely went into this business because they love helping foreigners. Expect to pay most of the time, but you may find yourself having a good friend to call and ask the odd question to as well.
Give them all your info; where you’re working, the type of house and school you’re looking for, and let them get to work. They’ll take care of the rest: from finding your house and arranging your visa to holding your hand while you get your driver’s license and bank account set up.
Getting that Internet and cable hook-up can be a pain when you don’t speak Korean. Here’s another option if you’d like someone to take some of the stress off of your back and are looking for an partner during your move to Korea.
With independently owned locations all over Asia, this is the relocation company to use if you’ll be extending your life as an expatriate in Asia. As with others in this list, they don’t actually move your belongings but instead provide “Move Management” services. They hold your hand for everything else, and they’ll even help hire your domestic helper if you’re headed someplace where that sort of thing is common.
Asian Tigers Transpack is a full-service relocation company handling moves all over the world, based in Asia. Many of their team members are certified Global Mobility Specialists.
Budget Departure from Korea
Chances are a Korea-based logistics company is going to send your stuff home for you at a better price than one of the international options in the first category above. Here’s logistics/moving company that has English-speaking staff members
With a decent English website and a regular office number, Optimoving Worldwide is a moving company is equipped to help with your move abroad (and domestically too), and they offer some extra services like pet transport too.
Budget Moving in Korea (Domestic Only)
For this, there are two small operations that are run by helpful folks who speak English. Their services run from a full-service move where you don’t lift a finger to just supplying a truck – packing and loading it are up to you.