Travel Insight :: What’s On Our Shelf

Kind of like that skanky MTV hookup show where a guy digs through a girls closet, but only better, we give you a glimpse into how we roll, Manali and Terry style.

A Look At Our Desk

1. Lightweight Laptop | Dell Studio XPS 1340 :: Weight is light, which is very importantant. For a performance class machine, 3-4lbs is about as light as you can get. Netbooks are far lighter, smaller and cheaper, as an alternative. DVD burner is a must if you intend on backing up video and picture data. Integrated memory card reader is also high on the demand list. This baby is a powerful tool – flight info, maps, digital guide books, language software – and aside from the weight, is a great resource for an extended trip.

2. Blank DVDs :: Best investment for the security of valuable photos and videos. DVDs are a necessity, double layer 8GB discs are even better, if you are shooting DSLR and/or HD video. We make two copies of everything, mail one to Terry’s sister, and one to Manali’s brother.

3. Guidebook :: The more specific you get, by country for example, the better. Unfortunately there is the weight to consider with buying big books. Has come in handy many times, especially for identifying places and activities of interests.

4. Postcards :: We like to send postcards whenever we can or find ourselves in the mood. It is always nice to get a postcard from somewhere remote and foreign, and I think even better in the internet age.

5. Notebook :: We write constant to-do lists, addresses, website and phone numbers than I care to recall. Hand drawn maps are sometimes necessary, and there is always a download list for some song you just have to have on the ipod.

6. Sunglasses :: It might be a sunny day, or you just need them to keep the wind out of your eyes while cruising on your motorbike, and sunglasses help to keep your eyes unstressed, reducing fatigue.

7. Motorbike Keys :: Sometimes walking just plain sucks. When it comes to commuting the longer distances and with greater frequency, springing for the motorbike rental is an easy choice, and economical at around $3 – $6 USD per day.

8. Headlamp :: Occasions come when you want to find yourself off the beaten path. The reality to this romantic notion is that major conveniences including electricity don’t follow you down the path, and a headlamp is a lifesaver when you’re trying to dig that role of saved toilet paper out of your bag in the middle of the night.

A Look At Our Shelf

1. Reading Material :: Books remain the most perilous foe to boredom in our estimation. Pack them, read them, love them. Small print helps on the weight as well.

2. Snacks / Water :: Friend to the all powerful budget is our consistent goody bag of snacks, and easy to prepare foods. We usually carry a little fruit, peanut butter, jelly, bread and water. You never know when you’re going to get hungry, or be in a spot where appetizing food is unavailable.

3. Hot / Cold Mugs ::
Used for tea more mornings than not, and make good casings for your fragile items inside your pack.

4. Folding Grocery Tote ::
When you get tired of the backpack, because it doesn’t let your back breath, in comes the tote. Good for groceries and going to the beach.

5. Cellphone ::
Still can’t figure out how to check our balance, but SIM cards are cheap and widely available. If we’re going remote or anywhere sketchy, I’ll be glad to have it if find ourselves in a pinch.

6. Toiletries :: Somehow we still manage to keep ourselves seemly, but it takes a lot of help. I think we are a little on the obsessive side when it comes to our toiletry essentials, and the weight adds up. A functional toiletry bag, including mirror and coat hanger like ours is great.

7. Clothing Cubes | Eagle Creek :: Our cubes remain the foundation to our fragile sanity. Ensures our packs remain clutter free, and helps you to find things quickly every time. Don’t leave home without your cubes.

Manali Patel Bettendorf
Manali Patel Bettendorf
Manali+Terry are world travelers with a passion for exploration, learning new things and connecting with people of different cultures.


  1. Love reading about the gear travelers are carrying. My heaviest accessory is always books and I'm really considering a Kindle or Nook to lighten the load. Perhaps in the spring or whenever I pass through the US again.

  2. I'm with you…the cubes were magnificent!!! everything had it's place in the cubes and the cubes fit perfectly (most of the time) in our packs…..don't leave home without them 🙂

    love your website and how you laid out this post….you two are so creative!!!

    how's the job hunting going??? i'm still at it and things are starting to pick up so we will see what happens. are you out of your deep freeze yet??? too bad you aren't here….the weather has been gorgeous!!!


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