5 ways to increase your laptops battery life while traveling – Working from the Road Wednesday.

By Posted in - Big Trip & Budget Travel & Featured Post & Travel Gear & Travel Resources & Working From The Road on October 20th, 2010

Randy using the computer on a rare occasion when we had electricity and internet!

Laptop battery life on the road can be a real hassle. Claims of five to six hours are as believable as Whitney Houston’s sobriety. When we are camping electricity is always at a premium for us and it’s always frustrating to lose power in the middle of working on the computer in the tent. We’ve tried every possible way to possible to increase our laptop’s battery life and we’ve discovered there are several simple tricks to get the most from your laptop battery.

1. Drop the brightness to the lowest possible setting that you can endure.

This can be really tough for me since editing photos at a low brightness setting is not ideal. Instead of editing, I will try to sort through pictures and then put them in a folder for editing later when I can plug in.

2. Unplug any USB device, like iPods or SD card readers, that you are not using.

Nothing drains the laptop battery like having an iPod plugged in. Sometimes you are so used to plugging in card readers or other devices that it becomes second nature. When conserving battery power make sure your computer doesn’t have to work hard at anything else.

3. If not needed, turn off WiFi and/or Bluetooth.

I always forget this one! The WiFi is always on and even though I’m not using the internet at the time, it is still draining the power off the computer. Always remember to shut off the WiFi & Bluetooth so your computer isn’t working extra hard trying to find possible internet connections.

4. Eject discs from the CD/DVD drive. A spinning disc equals battery drain.

Again, this is another easy one to forget. Watch a movie, fall asleep and you could forget for days that there is even a CD/DVD in your              computer. Double checking and ejecting any unnecessary discs will make your computer battery happy!

5. For short periods in between usage place your laptop into sleep. If you are going to be away from your laptop for a bit longer use the hibernate mode.

I’ve learned that just shutting the top isn’t enough. There is still a small light that glows and it causes severe battery drainage. So now whenever I can I shut it down to preserve energy.


We got great comments from two of our regular readers and I wanted to note their tips in here as well since they were so kind to share their knowledge with us.

6. Make sure your laptop vents aren’t blocked. Block vents means hot air, which can drastically reduce battery life.

7. Minimize the amount of applications that are running. As Rob notes below browsing on the internet doesn’t take up too much battery life but watching video’s or editing photos does. I can definitely attest to the last one – whenever I edit photos I only get about half of the typical battery life.

– Thanks Anil & Rob for sharing these two awesome tips with us!

You can check Anil’s excellent travel blog – FoxNomad – and be sure to also check out Rob’s fantastic blog at AdventureRob.

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(11) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Anil -

    October 21, 2010 at 6:21 am

    Another good way is to keep your laptop off your lap and make sure the vents aren’t blocked at all. Heat can significantly reduce battery life (both short and long term)!

    • Bethany -

      November 1, 2010 at 9:27 am

      Yeah, that’s an excellent point Anil – thanks! Beth@Anil,

  • Bridgette -

    October 21, 2010 at 6:27 am

    this is super helpful! Great article B&B! Love the whitney houston reference!

  • AdventureRob -

    October 23, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    Another one is to pay attention to the applications being run. Do one thing at a time. Internet browsing is generally lightweight on the battery, watching videos and editing photos is not.

    • Bethany -

      November 1, 2010 at 9:28 am

      Yeah, You are totally right! I’m going to add this to the article actually with a link to your excellent blog! @AdventureRob,

  • andy -

    November 24, 2010 at 1:24 am

    And undue heat kills off a battery slowly but surely. Avoid leaving the laptop under direct sunlight or inside a closed car.

    • Bethany -

      November 24, 2010 at 8:29 am

      Great tip – Thanks for commenting Andy 🙂@andy,

  • ptz camera -

    February 24, 2011 at 10:11 pm

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  • Marina@Adapter -

    August 29, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    And the easiest way omitted, why not just take another back-up battery?