The biggest expense when traveling is usually transportation, especially if buying plane tickets.
With my ticket to Thailand paid for the next step was to focus on the next largest part of preparation: Training.
A trip such as this one which involves trekking, weeding, planting and taking care of elephants, the most important benefit is being in good health.
The requirement for many of the places where I will be is being physically able to endure much physical activity.
I decided that best way for me was to enhance activities I already enjoy doing: hiking, biking, power walking and yoga. This now was the time to finally learn how to swim.
I researched yoga studios in the area for not only their type of yoga, but their rates and class schedule. What I found was a variety of studios with offers like $30 for 30 days, or three weeks unlimited for $35. These deals were perfect, not only for my thrifty budget but also the chance to try the many different styles and techniques. My goal is to try a new place each month before I leave, with one class usually being $12.00-$15.00 deals like these pay for themselves.
My next goal was to acquire exercise wear, which can be very expensive. So I hit up the thrift stores. Already being at thrift store fan, I knew what to look for. For some the idea of wearing used clothes does not appeal to them, I have found great deals on gently used tank tops and leggings, just no undergarments!
The last crucial purchase for preparation was swimming lessons. Some parts of my trip involve walking along waterfalls, being near cliffs and bathing elephants. I want to be able to enjoy these and be safe.
Public pools in the city offer adult swimming classes. For $20 a month, I have a lesson once a week and access to the pool to practice on my own. After this I will do the family pool pass for $15 per person instead of $30.
Last but not least were activities that are free. Going hiking during the day or while camping, biking on trails throughout the city and power walking through the neighborhood. All of these are great for stamina and endurance, which I track on my phone with an app. There are many available, I use Endomondo, which is free.
Some people may prefer to join a gym, once again to each their own. I feel that the exercises I have chosen are the best for me. Not only in the price range, but also to be outside, and try something new.