A Grand Adventure: SAS Competition Entry

*This post serves as my entry to As We Travel’s competition in conjunction with MoneySupermarket.com, who is giving away £1,000 to one lucky frugal traveler! The entry must explain our destination and what we would do to stretch said money as far as possible.

If you’re new to this blog, I have been given the amazing opportunity to travel for four months with Semester at Sea. It’s a big ship (not a cruise) and while sailing, students take classes on board, and participate in lots of clubs and societies. When we dock in the various countries, we get to explore. We have the opportunity to do trips with Semester at Sea, but those are super expensive, so I will opt for independent travel in port.

SAS is super expensive though, in terms of tuition and room&board. I managed to get some financial aid, but still had to take out a substantial loan, which means that I am now well and truly broke and worried that I may not have much with which to explore the countries.

Thus, drumroll please, the itinerary and plans – dates are omitted for internet safety, suffice to say this begins early January:

San Diego:

  • One night’s sleep in the Hilton Marina which I am sharing with some other SASters: £25
  • As my flight from Cape Town arrives late, explore the nightlife and do some last-minute shopping with new SAS friends. I’m thinking TACOS! : £20


The next day we are taken to Ensenada, Mexico, to board the M/V Explorer, i.e. SAS begins! I don’t think there will be any time to explore Ensenada, sadly.


Hilo, Hawaii:

  • We will be here for one night, two days. I will sleep and eat on the ship to save money.
  • Visit Akaku National Park (waterfalls!): Entrance free, but give or take £15 for transport, meals, etc
  • Visit the Lyman Museum (Hawaiian people, cultures and ecology): £5 for entrance and transport
  • Spend some time on the beach (weather will be temperate): FREE!
  • Visit a Kahuna La’au Lapa’au – a traditional healer in Hawaii – I am a medical student and want to learn more! £15 for getting there and possible purchasing something legal.


  • We will go to Yokohama and Kobe
  • Visit Sankeien Gardens in Yokohama – I’ve read about Japanese gardens and I would love to see it: £10
  • Spend a night at a Ryokan: £50
  • Visit a traditional healer in Japan (Kampo is the Japanese version of Chinese medicine): £10
  • Eat Kobe beef at Steakland Kobe: £33


  • We will visit Shanghai and Hong Kong
  • Visit a traditional Chinese doctor: £20
  • Go to the markets!: £40 for transport, munchies and some souvenir shopping
  • Explore the Hong Kong Nightlife: £25

Ho Chi Minh City:

  • Markets markets markets! £20
  • Visit a Vietnamese tailor and have something pretty made: £60


We will be here for only one day. So it’s either shopping or the more expensive but awesome option: Universal Studios Theme Park! £60


Rangoon, Burma:

  • Things have just begun to calm down in Burma, so there is lots to learn here.
  • Visit the various religious sites, including temples and the Shwedagon Paya: £20
  • Visit the Bogyoke Aung San Market – great opportunity to people-watch and learn: £25
  • Eat traditional Burmese cuisine at Monsoon, yum! £20

Cochin, India:

  • Eat Indian cuisine at Dal Roti: £20
  • Visit a public clinic: £15
  • Explore Cochin by bicycle: £20
  • MARKETS! £20

Port Louis, Mauritius:

We will only be spending a day in Mauritius, thus this day will be spent on the beach, sipping cocktails and perhaps hopping on a boat for a bit. £30


Cape Town, South Africa:

While the rest of SAS explores my city, I’ll need to handle administrative matters back at school. I will however be organising a sunset hike up Lion’s Head, and I’ll visit the Cape Town Heart Museum with the Ethics class. £30


  • Visit a traditional healer: £20
  • Visit a public clinic: £20
  • Go to a traditional market: £20
  • Visit a school or orphanage: £20


  • Visit the Hassan Mosque in Casablanca: £10
  • Take the train to Marrakesh: £25 (return)
  • Spend two nights at a youth hostel in Marrakech: £20
  • Explore the main Medina of Marrakesh: £20
  • Visit a Moroccan Pharmacy£15

Barcelona, Spain:

  • Spend two nights in a youth hostel: £50
  • Explore the Barcelona Nightlife: £30
  • Explore Barcelona’s Old City: £10

Four months of traveling done… home time.

Note: This leaves a surplus of approximately £100, something I was not expecting! However, since I have never been to these places, it is possible that I have underestimated many costs. If the surplus turns out to be genuine, I would organise to visit more touristy places, like zoos or youth hostels, and traditional performances.


  1. Kathy says:

    This sounds like such an incredible experience!!! Also, the youth hostels in Barcelona are awesome…or at least they were when I was travelling…ahem…15 years ago! I would love to see Universal Studios in Singapore…I’m just curious about what a theme park in Singapore would be like though!!! Have an amazing trip and I look forward to following along on your blog!

    1. Thank you, Kathy 🙂 I’ve heard a lot of good things about the youth hostels in Barcelona.
      As for Singapore – Universal Studios there has a very good rep, I was also shocked but I’ve heard great things 🙂

  2. This sounds so amazing! I hope you get the prize money!

    1. Thank you Solitary… I do hope so too 😀

  3. isandos says:

    This trip sound awesome… I am SO jealous! Good luck with the scholarship.

    I just spent a few days in Barcelona in May… if you haven’t booked already, can I suggest a hostel? Hostel One Paralelo was AMAZING. The guys there will help you plan your days, right down to what restaurants are delicious, so that you see the most in the least amount of time. PLUS they feed you free dinner every night! It was my favorite hostel for my whole Eurotrip!

    1. Thank you! I’ll definitely check out that hostel, thanks for the recommendation 🙂

    And no, I don’t just mean that as in “I’m an Indian”. I mean that as in “Of all the millions of states in India, you get to go to the one that my parents grew up in.” Meaning you’ll get to hear my language (Malayalam) EVERYWHERE. I am ridiculously excited about this 😀 😀 😀 and am looking intensely forward to that blog post. So. Much. Win. (except you know, Kerala kind of has Eastern Cape tendencies. heh. Just enjoy the view! And the millions of autorickshaws, and Need for Speed traffic situations!)

    I’m just generally looking forward to enjoying this trip vicariously through your posts.
    Needless to say, I hope you enjoy it far more 😀

    1. Cochin was AWESOME! I miss you!

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