Stuff You Should Know About: February 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

Americans soon will be able to travel to Cuba

Earlier this year, President Obama announced that restrictions on trade with Cuba will be loosened in 2015. And, for American travelers, this means that Cuba won't be “the Forbidden Island” for much longer. Just last week a group of Senators introduced legislation that would. What do you think — do you think this will be good or bad for tourism in Cuba? Will you want to go?

It's a great (and cheap) time to travel to Europe

Bad news for Europeans: the Euro is on the verge of collapse, with the value of the currency swiftly falling. But this is good news for anyone not in the Eurozone. For example, it's predicted that the Euro will soon be of roughly equal value to the U.S. dollar. Meaning ! Where are you booking your European vacation to?

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:

Airbnb

Airbnb in Auckland

I used to do the whole hostel thing when I traveled. It was usually cheap, but I hated sharing a room with so many other people — and don't even get me started on uncomfortable bunk beds. When I decided I'd had enough of hostels, I started spending HOURS searching for affordable hotels before every trip. And let me tell you, they are nearly impossible to find in many destinations.

Enter Airbnb. The site allows you to search for bed and breakfast-style rooms or entire apartments to rent. There are lots of options in just about every major city around the world, and the best part is that the prices are usually WAY more affordable than booking a hotel room. I've used Airbnb to book whole apartments in cities like Chicago and London and rooms (with free breakfast) in places Rome and Auckland. I book more than 50% of my accommodation through Airbnb these days, and I anticipate this number to only rise!

AND, you can get a free $25 credit just for signing up. Just go here. (You're welcome.)

Top 3 Instagram shots from January

I'm making Instagram a big focus of mine in 2015. And this past month I had one photo in particular blow up on the platform (still trying to figure out how…).

Here are my top three most-liked photos from last month:

A photo posted by Akatuki (@dangerousbiz) on

A photo posted by Akatuki (@dangerousbiz) on

A photo posted by Akatuki (@dangerousbiz) on

If you aren't following already, !

Featured bloggers of the month

Check out February's Featured Blogs:

Paula of is a 30-something Londoner on the move. She focuses on fun, easy travel for the independent traveler looking to have the time of their lives! Follow her (mis)adventures around Southeast Asia.
Jen of has been traveling most of her life, but it wasn’t until 2009 that the travel bug really started to bite. Images and stories from the adventures of family and friends around the world inspired her to sell her house in Sydney, put her belongs in storage and take off to Europe. This eventually led to a few years living and working in London, exploring Europe as much as she could. Since then she and her husband Mick have visited over 100 regions, cities and towns on four continents with many more trips planned for the future. 
Liz got her first taste for traveling when she was 16 years old. On her own, 10 years and 40-something countries later, her wanderlust has only grown. After living in Spain for the past few years and returning home for a stint, she then quit her job and moved to New Zealand. Follow her misadventures as she wanders, eats, and photographs her way around the world.

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

You should pack this

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

STM DrifterI got this small backpack a few months ago, and have since fallen in LOVE with it. I've had a lot of small, laptop-friendly day packs in the last few years, and I have to say that this is one of the best. It has “floating” pockets inside for things like small laptops and tablets, and has plenty of other pockets both inside and out. I'm all about organization when it comes to packing, and this little bag makes it SO easy.

Bonus that it has a chest strap and water bottle-friendly pockets on the sides, and that it's built so you can't overpack it (meaning it will always fit under airline seats).

>> .

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:

by Eric Weiner

Geography of BlissThe subtitle for this book is “One grump's search for the happiest places in the world.” And that's essentially what it is — a former NPR journalist embarks upon a journey around the world in order to research happiness and why some countries are reportedly “happier” than others. It's an easy, sometimes humorous read, and Weiner goes to some pretty interesting places (like Bhutan and Qatar). I haven't finished it yet, so I can't tell you what he eventually finds, but I definitely recommend it!

 

That's it for this month's edition of “Stuff You Should Know About!” Which section was your favorite, and is there anything else you'd like to see included next month?

 

 

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"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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