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Domestic & Global Cell Phone Advice sought

by Roadtrip 2010 / December 3, 2009 8:21 AM PST

Hello my new friends, OK, so hubby and I are quitting our jobs and taking off next year - first a 3 month trip to Morrocco, Sri Lanka, Jordon and Bali - we come home for 3 months and then take off for Panama & Uruguay. Our BIG questions to you involve what tech do we schlepp with us. Each has a rolling carry on and a day pack - we are traveling light. Of course, I need 4 pairs of shoes and he needs his CPAP so we have some minimums. We have a camera and binocs. We really need your help with the electronics - your comments and suggestions. We would like to purchase lightweight and packable gear that won't break the bank (mid price):
1. Kindle 2 - instead of several travel guides and other reading material.
2. Stereo speakers for our IPOD & for DVD audio (see #3)
3. Netbook w/DVD drive. Must be light weight as I will be carrying it around all the time with a great battery life. I need something to journal on, connect to the internet for emails and paying bills, research, etc AND watching a DVD. We don't want to use internet cafes if we don't have to, especially when receiving/handling finances. So it has to be able to connect wifi somehow. We like the specs on the ASUS 1005HA or whatever is its successor but it is unclear if watching DVDs on it is doable, what it needs to make it play movies, what about the audio? Can we use our Ipod headphones for that? Can we connect it to the speakers we'll buy for the Ipod?
4. Global phones. We currently have Sprint and use Palm Treos w/o internet access. We are ready for the big time - ready to get new phones. We want GPS and data AND when we go abroad, the ability to access cheap minutes in whatever country we're in as using a US Carrier's Int'l plan seems too expensive. We'd like unlimited data, talk, texting while in the US. I don't know how it works out of country. The Blackberries look good - what do you think? Should we just forget about using our US phones over there and just rent/buy cheap phones and minutes wherever we go? Some of you must be regular travellers and have nailed all this down.

I know I'm asking a lot here and anything you can address will be so greatly appreciated! Happy Trails to You, La Burner

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