10 terrible tech travel mistakes to avoid this summer

10 terrible tech travel mistakes to avoid
Smile for the tablet! The ultimate in vulgar tourism?

Wander the streets of Venice, the boardwalks of Brazil or even just the aisles of a grubby Boeing 737 and you'll quickly notice tourists abusing their gadgets with ill abandon, as if nobody is watching.

But as well as red-faced foreigners using iPads as cameras and show-off friends checking in on Facebook while still at the airport McDonalds, the usually tech-savvy can be prone to the odd holiday slip-up, too - usually by massively over-estimating their gadget needs.

Here are 10 of the most common tech-related errors that make travellers look stupid. Stop yourself from committing these sins to avoid irritating locals and embarrassing your fellow tourists.

1. Checking-in on Facebook... at airports

10 terrible tech travel mistakes to avoid

Checking in online at airports is best left between you and your airline

Airports are exotic only to children. "Look everybody, I'm in New York City!" is a half-decent boast. Posting that you're wandering around the duty-free shops at the airport, on the other hand, is more a cry for help.

Facebook is at its best when informing us where trusted friends are on the globe, particularly if they're somewhere unusual and also post some stunning photos. Knowing friends are enjoying themselves somewhere special is certainly more interesting than knowing how boring their day at work was, for sure.

But if you're busy queuing in a large concrete block to get to an airline seat that's already been allocated to you, please keep your powder dry. Nobody is interested.

2. Chatting during take-off

There was a time when the phrase, "we're just about to take-off, I'll call you later," was generally uttered into a mobile phone when boarding the plane or settling into one's seat. Now it appears to have moved back 20 minutes to the actual point when the pilot has already rattled down the runway at 100mph and is tilting towards the clouds.

We don't blame the flight attendants, but couldn't their breeze down the aisle to check seat belts also involve spotting - and possibly tranquillising - covert smartphone users who rate the importance of their business call with Derek from Distribution far higher than the safety of 149 people crammed into a long tin tube attempting to float?

3. Obsessive phone battery preservation

10 terrible tech travel mistakes to avoid

Holidays are for re-charging your own batteries, not your smartphone's

Your phone's alarm goes off at 4am. You silence it to prevent the battery draining further: you've a long journey ahead, and in the airport you barely check Facebook at all while you hop between charging points - at one stage sitting on the floor behind a bin just to avoid dipping below 99% as your flight starts to board.

You've bought yourself an emergency battery that's good for a full recharge, and packed a worldwide adaptor just in case it's possible to charge up on the plane. You've even put an old MP3 player in your now bulging carry-on bag just in case.

And what happens when you get on the plane? You watch The Dark Knight Rises on the in-flight system, drift into a Zen-like trance and drink cheap wine until you fall asleep, finally arriving at your hotel many hours later with a healthy 97%.

4. Careless photography

We live in a throwaway age where SD cards are capable of holding thousands of photos, but do try to consider what it is you're photographing. On a recent trip to the ultimate honeypot of world tourism - Machu Picchu in Peru - we spotted more than a few fellow tourists so desperate not to miss out on the ultimate shot (read: overdone clichés that you'll never look at twice) that they were snapping away with a camera while looking in the opposite direction.

Spend less time taking indiscriminate pictures and more time thinking about light, subject and composition, to get nice photos.

Oh, and when a couple give you their camera and ask you to take a picture of them in front of the Taj Mahal or the Sydney Opera House, remember that it's probably the only photo of them together on their honeymoon, so don't absent mindedly cut their heads off.

Jamie Carter

Jamie is a freelance tech, travel and space journalist based in the UK. He’s been writing regularly for Techradar since it was launched in 2008 and also writes regularly for Forbes, The Telegraph, the South China Morning Post, Sky & Telescope and the Sky At Night magazine as well as other Future titles T3, Digital Camera World, All About Space and Space.com. He also edits two of his own websites, TravGear.com and WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com that reflect his obsession with travel gear and solar eclipse travel. He is the author of A Stargazing Program For Beginners (Springer, 2015),