HOW TO TRAVEL THE WORLD ON $50 A DAY

The ability to travel the world shouldn’t just be reserved for millionaires, rock stars, and flu viruses… us regular shlubs to see what KFCs look like in Beijing too. In his new book, How to Travel the World on $50 a Day, travel guru Matt Kepnes shows you how to hop from country to country on the cheap.

Whether it’s how to score free flights, hotel rooms, or admissions to coveted attractions, Kepnes taps into his years of experience to teach you how to save for your trip and then make it pop without spending thousands. And he’s a good guy to listen to, as advice from his award winning budget travel site, Nomadic Matt, has been referenced by The New York Times, CNN, The Guardian UK, Yahoo! Finance and more.

LEGOLAND® Sets May 15 Opening for LEGOLAND® Hotel

LEGOLAND® Hotel at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort is officially opening May 15, 2015. The announcement came today from General Manager of LEGOLAND Hotel, Kevin Carr, during a press event at the Hotel site, located just steps away from the theme park entrance. LEGOLAND Florida Resort General Manager Adrian Jones also announced Heartlake City, the newest land based on the popular LEGO® Friends line of toys, is opening this summer.

“We’re moving the Model Shop into our Hotel and guests will be able to learn and build with our Model Builders daily in the Master Model Builder Workshop.”

“LEGOLAND Hotel offers a unique experience unlike any other in Florida,” said Carr. “Imagine how excited children will be to wake up in a giant toy box full of LEGO bricks and to be the first to enter the theme park each day.” Jones also announced a Master Model Builder Workshop being offered exclusively to Hotel guests. “LEGOLAND Hotel is an extension of the theme park experience and the stars of our Park are our Master Model Builders,” said Jones. “We’re moving the Model Shop into our Hotel and guests will be able to learn and build with our Model Builders daily in the Master Model Builder Workshop.”

Today’s event at the Resort included a hardhat tour with a behind-the-scenes look at the Hotel. Media and VIP guests were taken to one of the fifth floor suites to experience the spectacular views of Lake Eloise, the theme park with its 50 rides, shows and attractions, and the site of the future expansion, Heartlake City.

“When it opens in summer of 2015, Heartlake City will be a colorful and vibrant new land offering adventures for all ages,” said Jones. “The centerpieces will include a fantastic horse-themed disc coaster called Mia’s Riding Adventure and a new interactive show, ‘Friends to the Rescue’ as well as new shops inside Heartlake Mall. Between our constant expansion, the new LEGOLAND Hotel opening in May and the Water Park re-opening in March, LEGOLAND Florida Resort is definitely a multi-day attraction.”

Guests may book reservations by visiting www.LEGOLANDHotel.com.

LEGOLAND Florida Resort is a part of Merlin Entertainments Group, the second largest attractions operator in the world. For the most current information, log on to www.LEGOLAND.com.

Travel: Off The Grid Getaways

Take a journey to the end of the world at one of these three sustainable getaways. Hike mountains, eat local and enjoy white sand beaches, from Switzerland to the Seychelles. We’ll guide you through the apocalypse in style.

Eco-Hotel Spa Yves Rocher

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At Eco-Hotel Spa Yves Rocher, in the heart of France’s Brittany region, you’re definitely in five-star-hippie territory. Everything about the place, including the chic treehouse, is about immersing you in a sensual experience with nature.

Let’s start with the food. The restaurant, Les Jardins Sauvages, serves organic meals made from ingredients grown by local gardeners, bakers, craftsmen and apiarists, all within 20 or so miles from the hotel. Every June, they host the Festival Photo La Gacilly, the largest outdoor photo festival in France, which focuses on nature.

The 20 rooms have grass roofs to bring in direct sunlight and limit heat loss in winter, and have southern exposure
to optimize natural light. The two-person treehouse suite called The Cabane is nestled in a 200-year-old cypress tree with views over the kitchen garden and a woodland park. It’s the perfect place to weather the apocalypse.

Whitepod

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Before you build your new off-grid yurt home, you can test drive one at the eco-luxury Whitepod escape in the Swiss Alps, roughly an hour-and-a-half drive from Geneva.

This is off-grid-vacationing-meets-summer-camp at its most comfortable and in all seasons. With full showers and baths, the 15 geodesic tented pods are heated by a wood-pellet stove. Water is pumped directly from a nearby fresh water source. There is electricity. Nearby Malatray farm delivers fresh cheese and cold cuts, and local winemakers come for weekly tastings.

Activities here are all about hiking, with or without dogs. We recommend doing strenuous mountain activities in order to build up an appetite for the delicious local food at the mountainside restaurant, Les Cerniers.

North Island

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On an isolated island in the Seychelles off of Africa, you can live the ultimate barefoot eco-luxury life.

North Island is a private island and nature sanctuary that went to ruin after the collapse of the coconut industry in the ‘70s, but has been built back up by prominent ecologists over the last decades. They have not only renovated the island inn and spa, but have restored the indigenous flora, fauna and reintroduced lost species, too. Drink fresh-from-the-tree coconut water, hang out with turtles and rare indigenous birds like the Seychelles magpie-robin, and sleep in one of 11 architecturally thoughtful and sustainable cabins constructed with felled trees and stones by local craftsmen. Robinson Crusoe wannabes, this is your place.

Workers Build a Giant Electronic LEGO Christmas Tree for a Mall in Sydney, Australia

Workers at the Westfield Sydney shopping center in Sydney, Australia built a giant LEGO Christmas tree, complete with a computer-controlled electronic light show that will be on display nightly through the end of Christmas. LEGO created a time-lapse build video of the tree, which is said to be the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.

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12 Of The World’s Most Awesome Remote Hideaways

When you live in a constantly connected (but spiritually disconnected) urban environment, it’s natural to dream about escaping to some wilderness shack and never coming back. Hide and Seek: The Architecture of Cabins and Hide-Outs, a new book from Gestalten, lets you indulge that fantasy without having to go all Grizzly Man. It presents some of the world’s most stunning cabins, shelters, hideouts, and sanctuaries that answer to the longing for retreat in nature.

Similar to the way 19th-century Romantics reacted to the Industrial Revolution with a more emotional, worshipful approach to the natural world, contemporary architects are building structures that incorporate the wilderness into their designs, inviting it in rather than shutting it out. “Direct connections to water, earth, air, and even fire enhance the power and sense of discovery present within the rural refuge,” writes Sofia Borges in Hide and Seek’s introduction. Among these are a mirrored lake cottage that reflects the surrounding forest on its facade and the nook-like Cocoon shelter, made of strips of cedar, which snakes around a series of tree trunks. Here, 12 of the most jaw-dropping contemporary hideaways in the world’s many middles of nowhere.

BIVACCO LUCA VUERICH, BY GIOVANNI PESAMOSCA ARCHITETTO IN FRIULI-VENEZIA GIULIA, ITALY

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This tiny, stoic A-frame cabin perches atop a rugged landscape in the Julian Alps, 8,303 feet above sea level. It’s situated along a summit trail, so hikers and climbers can catch up on rest in the hideout, which sleeps up to nine guests.

SLEDGE-PROJECT, BY ROB SWEERE, QAASUITSUP, GREENLAND

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These futuristic mobile dwellings on sleds were built for an organization that helps rehabilitate troubled children by pairing them with local hunters, who teach them the ways of the wild. They can be towed with dogs or snowmobiles over sea or ice, and each sleeps up to six guests.

THE PUMP HOUSE, BY BRANCH STUDIO ARCHITECTS, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA

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This re-locatable lakeside cabin perches on stilts. Floor-to-ceiling windows let sunlight pour through.

FIRE SHELTER, BY SIMON HJERMIND JENSEN, CAPITAL REGION OF DENMARK, DENMARK

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Inspired by the architecture of nomadic people, this egg-like plywood hut has a simple circular bench around a central fireplace. Open to the public, and meant to stand only for a year, the Fire Shelter is ventilated by a hole in the top and two towards the bottom.

STEVE’S THAILAND DOME HOME, BY STEVE AREEN, IN ISAN, THAILAND

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This Dr. Seussian orange refuge sits amid a large organic mango farm. Completed by a small community of builders in just six weeks for under $6,000, the dome-shaped hut includes a handmade staircase that winds up to a rooftop patio shaded by a shaggy palapa.

VEGA COTTAGE, BY KOLMAN BOYE ARCHITECTS, IN TRONDELAG, NORWAY

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Close to the polar circle, this simple house borrows the gunmetal-gray color scheme of the surrounding bedrock in its harsh northern landscape, and its roof reflects the silver-white of the perpetually overcast sky. Large windows offer vistas of the ocean and mountain range.

COCOON, BY AA DESIGN & MAKE, SOUTH WEST ENGLAND, U.K.

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This cocoon, made of cedar strips in a whimsical monocoque structure, weaves through the trees of a forest park. Visitors can curl up inside its undulating form.

KEKKILA GARDEN SHED, BY AVANTO ARCHITECTS, UUSIMAA, FINLAND

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This garden shed-greenhouse hybrid lets you feel about as close to nature as possible while still technically being inside.

LE TRONC CREUX BY BRUIT DU FRIGO, BORDEAUX, FRANCE

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This cylindrical nature hut, resembling a giant log, can sleep up to nine people.

TREE SNAKE HOUSE BY REBELO DE ANDRADE, PEDRAS SALGADAS PARK, PORTUGAL

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The long, skinny bodies of snakes gliding between trees inspired these designs, in a Portuguese resort park, which can sleep one to two guests.

LAKE COTTAGE BY UUFIE, ONTARIO, CANADA

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This cottage in an Ontario forest has a mirrored entrance that lets it blend magically into the surrounding wilderness.

STUDIO FOR A COMPOSER BY JOHNSEN SCHMALING ARCHITECTS, WISCONSIN, UNITED STATES

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A country western musician uses this retreat, made of exposed concrete and steel, glass, and wood, as a studio for writing and recording his music.