Ever wondered what it’s like to fly out of the country for the love of fandom? Here, we give you the lowdown on traveling for what you’re most passionate about – K-Pop!
It’s not impossible.
The first thing you should know about traveling for fandom is that it’s not impossible. If mutuals on your feed can do it, then so can you! As cheesy as it sounds, believing that you will be able to travel to see your faves someday will motivate you to achieve your goal.
You don’t have to be rich.
This is probably the biggest misconception of most fans. While traveling will always involve money, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be rich to be able to do so. Being wise with your spending habits is the key to feed your travel fund. For more helpful tips on saving up for fandom, read this: IPONING 101: The K-Pop Stan’s Guide To Saving Up.
Don’t be afraid to travel alone.
For some, especially first-time travelers, traveling alone can be more daunting than exciting.
If you’re going on a solo fan pilgrimage and the nerves are catching up on you, go and find ways to get some company during your stay. Book a shared dorm at a hostel and make friends with your roommates. Chances are, one of them is also a K-Pop fan!
You can also check on mutuals if any of them will be in Korea around the same time as you or search on SNS if there are fans who are also looking for a concert buddy on D-Day. Of course, you still have to be cautious of who you talk to online, so run a thorough check on their profiles and never disclose any of your sensitive information to them. If you don’t want to fuss over looking for a companion, you can simply make new friends at the event!
Be smart. Avoid scams.
The situation: Tickets to the concert or event you wish to attend sold out in a flash. Don’t panic! Before resorting to resellers, wait it out and revisit the ticketing website after a few days. Some people may have cancelled their tickets, which you can now avail.
Also, it’s best to have your name printed on the ticket, as some organizers are stricter than others and will definitely check if you personally bought the ticket you’re holding. There have been instances when fans who bought from resellers were denied entry to events, since the name on the ticket they have doesn’t match with the ID they presented.
Now, if resellers are your only hope, check on their legitimacy before paying for the ticket. Visit their page and read reviews of customers who have purchased from them. Are the reviews positive? Negative? Mixed? Questionable? You may also drop the reseller a message to strike a chat with them. Are they accommodating? Do they sound trustworthy? Are they the type who’d be open to price negotiations? These are questions you have to ask yourself when purchasing a ticket from a reseller.
Fansigns are a bit more complicated to get through; however, buying in bulk will give you higher chances of getting a fansign pass, so be ready to shell out a chunk of your money, as trying your luck at fansign lotteries can get extremely costly.
Timing? Play it by ear.
Needless to say, the best time to travel for fandom is when your fave group is holding a series of concerts, celebrating their anniversary, or making a comeback. But it’s not everyday these happen, so it would be smart of you to review your bias group’s past schedules, see if there’s a noticeable pattern in their activities, then plan your trip accordingly.
Any avid K-Pop stan would know that some events are announced out of the blue, so always stay tuned for event updates from entertainment companies, official SNS pages of the group you follow, and reputable news sites.
There are some fans who wouldn’t book plane tickets until they score tickets to the event they want to attend. But if you’ve already bought return tickets and no event falls on the dates you’ve chosen, don’t be discouraged! There are a lot of fun activities for K-Pop fans that you can try on your trip like taking a walking tour of the entertainment agencies’ offices (Who knows? You might be able to spot a celebrity!), taking a stroll down the K-Star Road in Gangnam and snapping a pic with the Gangnamdol of your bias group, singing your heart out at a noraebang, and dining at an idol-owned or idol-themed restaurants and cafés among many others!
Being part of the official fanclub of your bias group has its perks.
If you’re dead set on visiting Korea to participate in your bias groups’ activities, you might want to consider signing up for the official fanclub. Every group has their own recruitment period, but most happen in the first half of the year, when things are just about to pick up steam.
Some of the advantages that official fanclub members have are being able to access exclusive content in the Fancafe, getting first dibs on artist merchandise and certain event tickets (including concerts and fan meetings), being prioritized at music show recordings, and more!
Widen your horizons.
Sure, South Korea is the mecca of K-Pop, but it’s not the only place where you can experience the hype of your fandom while traveling. Every year, countless K-Pop concerts and events happen around the world, some of which you can attend for cheap and visa-free too!
This is YOUR trip.
“Sayang pera!” “Di naman yan praktikal!” “Puro ka K-Pop!”
Those who travel for fandom, especially for K-Pop, are often met with snide remarks from people who have never felt a strong urge to take a trip for something they are truly passionate about. Don’t let what they say spoil your plans. First and foremost, they’re not paying for your trip. You worked (and dreamed) hard enough to deserve this, so go and have fun!
Don’t rush it.
If things around you aren’t favorable at the moment, don’t force yourself into taking a trip that might compromise your academics, your job, your financial state, or even your safety and security.
Travel only when you’re completely ready and able, so you can make the best out of your trip.
If you need some advice on traveling for fandom that you can’t find here, don’t hesitate to drop me a message on Twitter (@andybidibidis_) or Instagram (@lilili.right.here). I’d be more than happy to help you! 🙂
Words by Krew member Andy Flores | Photos from Andy Flores, Lei Reyes, Nicole Del Rosario, Dawn Naval, and Paola Ebora