Five ways to make long flights more productive

Every business traveler has said or heard: “I’ll get to it on the plane.” By the time your bags are stowed safely overhead, however, it occurs to you that the flight won’t be long enough for everything on your list. The problem I’ve seen is that most business travelers don’t use this distraction-free environment as effectively as they could. If you could get more out of your flights, you’ll have more elbow room in your schedule when you touch down. So, here are five ways to help you get the biggest bang for your time on board.

1. The flight starts at the gate
While you’re waiting to board, find a power outlet, and plug in. pick up a wireless connection, and take care of e-mails. This seems obvious, but distractions can encroach. When you’re going through your inbox, focus on anything that seems most likely to matter when you’re on the plane: reassess your priorities. The unimportant can wait (or be addressed via Blackberry when you’re waiting for the door to close).

2. Get an extra battery
I’m still amazed at how many times I’ve seen business travelers shut down because the juice is gone. Ask your employer for an extra battery – you’ll have a few more hours of high-octane work time.

3. Print what doesn’t have to be electronic
This is especially true if you can’t score that extra battery. Do on paper what can be done on paper, and save the battery life for work that must be done on your laptop. You’re effectively increasing the value of your battery.

4. Set goals
Don’t try to deal with everything. Determine what you want to accomplish on the flight, and zero in on it. If you have time left over, you can work on other things (or, better, sleep). Be realistic when you define your objectives. If you aren’t, you’ll be perpetually frustrated.

5. Know when to stop
If you’re close to exhaustion or just can’t get your mind to work, take the hint. A plane isn’t the ideal office environment). Close your laptop. Put down your pen. Ask for some pill water, and let someone else suffer at your expense for a change!

Gadling Take FIVE (Week of June 18 – June 24)

Heavens! The last weekend in July?! How can that be? Hopefully, those of you in the summer season are finding time to get out there, see the world–even if the world is not much further than the block next door and the weather is cooperating.

Here are five posts about new things in the travel scene.

  • Sean’s post on how e-mailing is getting easier in some parts of Africa due to a new fiber optic cable is good news for travelers and business people–and education.
  • In keeping up with the trend for more environmentally friendly, safe travel, Antarctic tourism is following suit. Kraig’s post tells how.
  • People are smiling more in Paris, according to Scott. It’s not that they have more to be happy about, it’s that they’ve been told to. Find out why.
  • As a Luddite, of sorts–so was Kurt Vonnegut, by the way, I’m befuddled by augmented reality. Jeremy has a handle on it though, so read his version. It’s a wild way to see the world is all I can say.
  • If you’re looking for Sears Tower in Chicago, you won’t find it anymore. You’ll find Willis Tower. As Katie points out Willis Tower is really the Sears Tower. There’s been a name change. It’s true; money can buy you a very very tall building.

Tuesday Travel Trivia celebrates Week 30 by giving away $400 in prizes!

Yep, you read that headline correctly. This week Tuesday Travel Trivia is doing its best Jeopardy! impression by offering hundreds of dollars worth of prizes to one lucky winner. Among them:

To enter to win these suh-weet prizes, check out the following ten trivia questions and leave your answers in the comments. (More terms and conditions at the end of this post.)

The stakes are high this week, so go ahead and employ your favorite search engine if you need some help with the answers. But be forewarned: Even Jeeves won’t know the answers to some of these brain-busters.

We’ll contact the randomly chosen winner via e-mail within a few days. Good luck!

  1. Who is the author of the recently released book Travel as a Political Act?
  2. In 1989, the motto of what airline proclaimed itself “the world’s favourite airline”?
  3. Last year, a Swedish entrepeneur made headlines by turning what massive object into a hostel?
  4. Liechtenstein and Uzbekistan are the world’s only two countries with a very unusual geographic characteristic. What is it?
  5. In what Tennessee city is Graceland located?
  6. True or false: English is the official language of the United States.
  7. Name the early Twentieth Century poet who wrote the following lines: “We shall not cease from exploration / And the end of all our exploring / Will be to arrive where we started / And know the place for the first time.”
  8. What humorous American travel writer’s books include A Walk Through the Woods, In a Sunburned Country, and I’m a Stranger Here Myself?
  9. Fill in the missing country in this Top Ten list: 10. New Zealand 9. United States 8. Norway 7. Australia 6. Japan 5. The Philippines 4. Russia 3. Greenland 2. Indonesia 1. __________
  10. Within 100, how many bridges cross the Amazon River?

Last week‘s answers are printed below the fold…

  1. What group has described itself as “New Zealand’s Fourth Most Popular Folk Parody Duo”? Answer: Flight of the Conchords
  2. Home to some of the Atlantic Ocean’s harshest weather, the Bay of Biscay is located between which two countries? Answer: France and Spain
  3. Although located in Switzerland, the tiny Alpine town of Meiringen is home to a museum dedicated to what British literary character? Answer: Sherlock Holmes
  4. The island nation of the Maldives (pictured) is the smallest country belonging to what continent? Answer: Asia
  5. What is the title of Robert Frost’s famous poem which ends, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I– I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference”? Answer: “The Road Not Taken” (points off for anyone who said “The Road Less Traveled”)
  6. In 2006, Chicago’s city council banned what French dish in restaurants, causing an uproar that eventually resulted in the ban being overturned? Answer: Foie gras
  7. What upcoming two-letter computer-animated film from Pixar partially takes place in the jungles of Venezuela? Answer: Up
  8. What country is home to the beermaker Heineken? Answer: The Netherlands
  9. Borscht, a red vegetable soup whose principal ingredient is beetroot, originates from what region of the world? Answer: Eastern Europe
  10. Named the Best Hostel Chain for 2008 by the website Hostel World, Wombats has locations in which two European countries? Answer: Austria and Germany

Terms and Conditions of the Giveaway

  • To enter, simply leave a comment answering the questions posed above.
  • The comment must be left before Friday, May 22nd at 5:00 PM Eastern Time.
  • You may enter only once.
  • One Prize Winner will be randomly selected to receive the prizes listed above.
  • Open to legal residents of the 50 United States, and the District of Columbia who are 18 and older.
  • The total value of the prize is approximately $400
  • Click here for the complete official rules of this giveaway.

Gadling Giveaway – Peek Pronto with 12 months service!

Peek has been a Gadling favorite ever since we were one of the first sites on the Internet to post a review. The $49.95 device offers no-contract email and unlimited text messaging for just $19.95 a month.

With the Pronto, Peek took their award winning device (Wired crowned them “favorite gadget of the year” in 2008), and added a bunch of really cool new features, but you’ll need to watch the short video clip posted after the jump to learn just what those new features are.

For your very own chance at winning a Peek Pronto with 12 months of included service, tell us just one of the new features added to the Peek Pronto.

Peek Pronto. What’s the deal? from amol sarva on Vimeo.

  • To enter, simply leave a comment answering the question posted above.
  • The comment must be left before Monday May 11th at 5:00 PM Eastern Time.
  • You may enter only once.
  • One Prize Winner will be randomly selected to receive one Peek Pronto with 12 months of service
  • Open to legal residents of the 50 United States, and the District of Columbia who are 18 and older.
  • The total value of the prize is approximately $320
  • Click here for the complete official rules of this giveaway.

Daily deal – Peek personal email device – buy one, get one free

My daily deal for today is another of those great products from the Gadling top 25 travel gadgets of 2008.

Peek is a handheld wireless email device that offers access to your email anywhere in the US. The device does not require a long term contract, and service is just $19.95 a month.

To help you stay in touch with your loved ones, Peek has a special Valentines day deal – buy one Peek, and get one free. All you have to do to take advantage of this deal, is purchase a Peek on Amazon, and add a second one to your cart. The final price will reflect a promotional discount of $79.99, the price of the second Peek.

Included with the Peek is a MicroUSB charger, battery pack and a quick start guide. The Peek setup wizard will have your email up and running in a matter of minutes.

Like this gadget? Check out these other cool products we recently reviewed!