Stuff You Should Know About: September 2015

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Welcome to the newest monthly feature on A Akatuki5! It’s been (very creatively) named “Stuff You Should Know About” and will basically just be a collection of travel news, tips, photos, and other odds and ends that don’t really fit in anywhere else but that I still really want to share with you.

Random travel news

A hotel of sand

Have you ever dreamed of ? (I mean, it's a pretty specific dream, but someone has to have it!) If you go to the annual sand sculpture festival is either Sneek or Oss in the Netherlands, you totally can. The Zand Hotels opened for the first time this year for the festivals, boasting full one-room suites constructed from sand. They're all sold out for this year, but they plan to open them again for next year's festival, too.

The longest flights

In August, Emirates announced a new longest flight in the world – 17 hours and 35 minutes between Dubai and Panama City. But now Air India wants to one-up Emirates, from San Francisco to India (possibly Bangalore) that would clock in at 18 hours. The thought of being on an airplane for that long makes me want to puke.

Cool travel app/website of the month

I get a lot of emails every week — sometimes every day — about new travel apps and websites. I don’t write reviews very often about apps/websites (only the ones I really, really love), but some of them are still worth mentioning!

This month, check out:


You've probably heard of Uber – an alternative to taxi services that now operates all around the world. But have you heard of ?

Lyft is essentially the same concept as Uber – drivers give rides (lifts) to strangers using their own cars – but right now Lyft only operates in the US. I used Lyft a lot on my recent visit to Seattle, and I have to say that I love it!

To use it, you simply download the Lyft app, fill out a profile, and connect a form of payment like a credit card or Paypal account. Then, when you need a ride, you “order” a Lyft through the app. You can type in your destination, and usually a car will come to pick you up within 5 minutes or less. You can see what your driver and his/her car will look like before they arrive, and you handle things like payment right in the app (meaning you never have to dig out your wallet or wait for change!).

I LOVE a system like this. Not only does it make getting a ride really fast and easy, but a Lyft is usually cheaper than a taxi ride would normally be. If you haven't tried out something like Lyft or Uber, give it a go on your next trip!

Top Instagram shots from August/Sept.

I’m making Instagram a big focus of mine in 2015 — if you aren’t following already, !

Here are some of my most-liked photos from the last month or so:

A photo posted by Akatuki (@dangerousbiz) on

A photo posted by Akatuki (@dangerousbiz) on

A photo posted by Akatuki (@dangerousbiz) on

A photo posted by Akatuki (@dangerousbiz) on

Featured bloggers of the month

Check out this month's Featured Blogs:

Rachel is an outgoing English teacher from suburban New Jersey. She is an expert at finding ways to escape her job and explore the world. Her blog, , discusses her adventures, love of books, and determination to beat anxiety – including a big fear of flying!

Interested in being a featured blog next month?
Go here to learn more!

You should pack this

Each month, I’ll feature one or two of my packing must-haves. This month, Im recommending:

One thing I hate about packing for a trip is figuring out footwear. I have very flat, finicky feet and I therefore have trouble finding shoes that are all at once comfy, functional, AND not butt-ugly.

A couple years ago, I bought a pair of for a trip to Europe. Since then, these versatile walking sandals have traveled with me literally all around the world, from trips to Europe to Asia to Central America.

They're not the MOST attractive sandals out there, but they go with most outfits and offer good arch support (which is the most important factor to me). They're also pretty affordable, and my pair have lasted well over 3 years and are still in great shape.

(And, for you fellas, check out the .)

What I’m reading right now

Lastly, I love to read and am making a goal of reading MORE in 2015. Here’s what I’m currently reading:

Years ago, when I first started travel blogging, I began reading a handful of other travel blogs. Some were about New Zealand. Some were written by fellow solo female travelers. And one was written by a British girl named Lauren who described herself as a “walking disaster.”

Lauren's blog, Never-Ending Footsteps, soon became one of my favorites. I loved checking in multiples times per week to read about her misadventures, and could empathize with her past struggles with crippling anxiety.

And now Lauren has written a BOOK! A real, bonafide, published book. If you love a good dose of (mis)adventure, self-deprecating humor, and watching travel truly transform someone's life, then you'll want to pick up . I've finished it already and can assure you that it's a good, funny read.

That’s it for this month’s edition of “Stuff You Should Know About!” Which section was your favorite this month?


*Note: There are some affiliate links in this post. If you buy through one of the links, you won’t be charged any extra, but I’ll earn a little bit to put towards running this site!

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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