Cure for Laptop Long Flight Blues: How to Use Your laptop in an Airplane

Few things are worse than rolling up your sleeves and diving into work on your laptop and watching the battery slowly drain – except, perhaps, sitting back on a long flight and getting halfway into a great movie before your battery gives out.

Travelers contend with those frustrations all the time, but there are a few things you can do to maximize your laptop battery’s life.

Laptop Battery Saving Tip #1

When you’re in the air, you have little use for your laptop’s WiFi connection – so turn it off. When left on, WiFi can drain your battery’s power by continuously searching for a signal it isn’t going to find; by turning off the connections, you can prolong your laptop battery’s life by up to 20 minutes (and let’s face it… 20 minutes can make all the difference in the world when you’re stuck on the tarmac).

Laptop Battery Saving Tip #2

If you’re using a laptop with Windows XP, you can easily control your power settings. By changing these settings, you can save battery power for when you need it most. Your screensaver, output and other settings can drastically affect the amount of power your laptop is consuming.

In your Control Panel, you can choose whether you want to use “Balanced,” “Power Saver” or “High Performance” power schemes. In most cases, “Balanced” is the way to go – but when you’re traveling and don’t have easy access to an external power source, “Power Saver” can increase your battery life exponentially. You may not get the same brightness or speed, but small sacrifices can help your battery make it through the trip alive.

Laptop Battery Saving Tip #3

Changing how bright your computer screen shines can also affect your battery power. Some people keep their laptops on the brightest setting because power isn’t an issue – but when you’re traveling, you need to practice good conservation. If you don’t need the brightest setting, adjust your screen’s backlight; make sure you can still comfortably see your work, movies or games so you don’t strain your eyes, but adjust the dimmer as much as you can to save power.

Power Solutions for Travelers

You can only do so much to save power while you’re still using your laptop without a power source, so you may need to invest in a portable external battery or portable laptop charger.

Using products like the Powergorilla portable laptop charger can add up to five hours of battery life. Since it’s compact, light and easy to carry (it fits right in most laptop cases), you never have to worry about losing power when you’re in the middle of something important.

Mac users can benefit from HyperJuice MacBook External Battery, which can provide up to 45 straight hours of power – so whether you’re driving, flying or boating, you never have to worry about your computer’s battery life. It automatically adjusts between 16.5V and 18.5V, too, so it can keep up with the MacBook Pro’s varying power levels while most other external batteries can’t.