Great Escapes: Pod hotels, Space Shuttles and airport shopping tips...
Stay tuned with what's happening in travel with Pól Ó Conghaile's weekly Weekend Magazine column.
What's happening in travel this week? Space shuttle Atlantis is open to visitors at Kennedy Space Center, airline passengers can sleep in pods, and you can park your shopping at Dublin Airport...
While the world waits for Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic to propel tourists into space, Florida's Kennedy Space Center has done things the other way round... bringing the space shuttle Atlantis to tourists right here on earth.
The experience puts the public nose to nose with the shuttle, which hangs with payload doors open as if it were floating in space. The $100m attraction includes a full-scale replica of Atlantis's external fuel tank and boosters and an astronaut training simulator in which you can try your hand at landing the Atlantis orbiter, docking with the International Space Station and manipulating the robotic arm.
It's tourism Jim, but not as we know it...
Room with a view:
Long layovers are not our favourite thing. Instead of napping on the departure lounge floor using a handbag as a pillow, why not check into a pod hotel for a few hours?
Yotel has pods (or 'cabins') at Gatwick (South Terminal), London Heathrow (Terminal 4) and Amsterdam's Schipol.
Similar to other airport pods like Snoozecube in Dubai or Munich Airport's Napcabs, cabins can be booked by the hour (for a sample four-hour booking, we were quoted £35/€44).
Wi-Fi, work stations and power shower rooms are included. Yotel also has a city property in New York, and is set to launch a further 600 cabins in downtown Singapore in 2018.
You don't have to cram airport shopping into the hour between security and take-off. The Loop at both Dublin and Cork airports offers a click and collect service, whereby you can buy online and collect items in person... after your return flight. www.theloop.ie