Korea Part 1: An Accommodation Was Supposed to Be Easy to Find, Right?


I was talking with my InterPals friend about seeing Jeju Island and as a nature lover I liked the idea of getting out of the big city for a while. I jumped straight in to getting a plane tickets which has lately turned out to be an impossible task. I tried several different airlines and I either got stuck at a booking process or at paying for the tickets because South Korean companies seem to not give a shit about western tourists at all. Finally, after couple of hours of registering at different sites, booking and failing to pay I’ve stumbled upon Eastar Jet that was the only airline that allowed me to pay with my European bank card. Yay!

The plane tickets to Seoul and Jeju Island were bought so the only thing left to do was to find a decent accommodation. I’m little bit picky when it comes to living standards and I don’t like sharing anything except a bed with naked people, so I knew I had to look for a private flat. Finding a place to stay in Jeju was straightforward as there were no non-shared options on Airbnb for reasonable prices, so I booked a nice small hotel on booking.com. 

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It was completely different story in case of Seoul. There were tons of private spaces on Airbnb so I went straight to creating a wish list with possible options. Because the list was huge I wanted to have some time to think about it little more. Couple of weeks later I’ve finally chosen a place, but I was met with a rejection. Nevermind, there were still more than 20 apartments to choose from so I picked a cozy flat in middle of Hongdae. The (really nice) owner got in touch with me in less then a day so I was all set.

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I planned my Jeju journey in middle of the whole trip, because I didn’t want to rush to the Incheon Airport straight from Jeju, so I also had to find a place for the last night in Seoul. Having a great experience with convenient bookings from the past, I thought I still have lot of time left. Boy was I wrong.

It was just a month before the departure when I realized it’s the right time to book something for the last night. I went to the Airbnb as usual and… how would I say it.. I was fucked! There were no private accommodations left and even the choice of shared rooms was looking like I’m not traveling to South Korea, but their northern neighbour. The prices were crazy as well.

After couple of beers later that got me back in the mood, I made what seemed to me like a great plan. The market always works the way that when something can’t be sold right before it’s about to expire, the price goes down rapidly. Knowing this economics “secret” I decided I’ll wait until days to the departure so I can at least pick up the scraps. The time was running out and suddenly it was just a week before the trip. That was the moment when I realized that everything that Ludwig von Mises wrote in his great book Human Action doesn’t apply to Koreans at all. 

All I was left with was a small pricey hostel in Hongdae, that shared a common space with what seemed to me like a love motel with hearts and naked people on the walls. A lesson was learned that day.

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