Our Favorite Travel Gadgets for In-Flight Productivity

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We all want to make the most of every minute, but many of us find that it's hard to be productive on those long flights. Maybe it’s the kids two rows over who won’t settle down, or the crammed space making you uncomfortable. Or maybe you don’t have the right tools to get any work done on your way to an important business meeting. No worries! With a few tricks and tools, you can take advantage of a long flight to crank out some serious work. We're here to the rescue with our list of favorite travel gadgets that will increase your in-flight productivity.

I Need More Power…

One of the quickest ways to stop productivity in its tracks is to have your device die. Now there are a slew of portable chargers on the market, but many of them either don’t last very long or won’t fully charge all of your devices. The Mophie Powerstation AC solves both problems. The unit has a built-in normal AC power outlet, so it works with any laptop and you can charge three devices at one time. It may a bit heavier and more expensive ($200) than other chargers but it can fast-charge your devices and gives an extra 100 hours battery life to your smartphone and 21 hours for your tablet.

Power Tablet

The tablet is quickly replacing the laptop as the go-to device for travelers. It can do so much more and comes in a variety of sizes, prices and capabilities. Forget about bringing newspapers, magazines and hard-copy documents on board. Access your presentation or scroll through a spreadsheet with ease before switching over to your favorite Netflix show. So, which power tablet is right for you? If you're an Android user, go with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 ($750). For those diehard Apple fans, we recommend the 10.5-inch iPad Pro ($650). Both have the power and versatility to do whatever tasks you give them — and then some.

Space—The Final Frontier

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Even if you're ready to begin the project that’s due as soon as you land, those tiny airline seats and tray tables are not conducive to productivity. The postage-stamp-sized tray table is unsteady and where do you set your drink so that it doesn’t spill all over your pricey device? We have the answer — gadgets.

If you love the window seat, give yourself room to spread out. The spAIRtray ($25) increases your window seat space by a third and helps you stay organized. Just insert the device on the window's shade track and the non-slip shelf keeps your phone, drinks and snacks at your fingertips while you get some work done. Not in a window seat? No problem. The Vector cup holder ($50) clips right onto your tray table and frees up room for you to work without trying to keep your drink from spilling.  

Noise-Canceling Headphones

There's nothing more harmful to productivity than distractions, and an airplane cabin is full of them. Between noisy kids and meddlesome passengers, it’s a wonder you can hear yourself think. That's why noise-cancelling headphones are on the top of the list of gadgets you need to get some work done. You'll spend a little more money ($350), but the best on the market is Bose’s QuietComfort 35. They are super comfortable and are wireless so you don’t need to be tied to your device or worry about tangled cords.

Give Me Some Room

It's easy to run out of space on your tablet or smartphone, especially if you're preparing to take a lot of photos on your international getaway. So additional storage it a must. The best gadget to give you extra space for those photos, songs or videos is a microSD card. SanDisk offers cards up to 400GB ($75), so you should have room for any files you want to bring with you. If your Android tablet doesn’t’ have a microSD card slot, you can add one with the Leef Access microSD Reader ($17). Don’t feel left out if you are an iPad user. Lexar ($20) makes external microSD card readers for Apple tablets and phones to help make room for all your photos on top of your work projects.

Smartwatch

The Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Smartwatch are all the rage these days, but with limited battery life and a geeky design, you might want something a little sleeker. We ask you to give the Nowa Smartwatch a try. It's elegant, yet amazingly powerful. This hybrid watch means you will have one less device to keep charged.  With an automatic world time mode, it's the perfect gadget for travelers, and even supports Apple Heath and Google Fit to record and track your activities while you're abroad. It even has a discreet alert for incoming calls to your smartphone that lets you even ignore the call with the push of a button. You are on vacation, after all.

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