10 terrible tech travel mistakes to avoid this summer

5. Using an iPad as a camera or camcorder

10 terrible tech travel mistakes to avoid

Why not watch the action instead of taking selfies?

The ultimate tech faux pas? The iPad is a quite brilliant boredom-beater, but wielding an iPad above your sunburned head to film rudimentary video is the new sandals with socks.

Whether it's during a guided tour, a show at Disney Land, a sporting event or - worst of all - a gig where that 10-inch screen is an unwanted beacon of bright light, we nevertheless predicted this worrying trend years ago. After all, the two-gadgets-in-one concept is always hard to resist, and who wants to carry a camcorder?

Please just use a phone - it's more discreet, it's safer and it's far less intrusive. Or perhaps you are actually on holiday specifically to spend quality time with your iPad. If that's the case, point the thing at your own face and take a long, hard look at yourself (yes, we know it has a front-facing camera).

6. DSLR in one hand, smartphone in the other

You want to take a professional, nicely framed picture of your significant other in front of Buckingham Palace to keep forever on a hard drive when you get home. On the other hand, you want the instant gratification of about 10 meaningful 'likes' and perhaps a 'LOL' on Facebook, too.

So as well as lugging a DSLR across the globe you insist on composing the identical shot on your phone exclusively for uploading. If you're in a busy tourist spot, taking twice the time is likely to get you shoved out of the way, and rightly so.

Until all cameras come with Wi-Fi, like the Samsung Galaxy Camera, Panasonic LF1 and friends, why not try waiting a few hours or days and then just uploading your well-composed, considered pictures from the DSLR?

7. Obsessing about music and movies

10 terrible tech travel mistakes to avoid

You don't need the entire BBC iPlayer library for a long weekend in Paris

What if you get bored? It depends what kind of trips you take, but any amount of lazing by the pool/long train journeys/killing time in airports demands a Plan B comprised of music, movies and books.

So a week prior to your holiday you get busy compiling playlists on your phone, stuffing it full of music, endless reams of podcasts, movies, TV shows and more.

But hey, guess what? Being on vacation isn't just about taking a break from the daily routine of work - it's also a getaway from all those digital distractions you fill up your home life with. We predict that you'll consume about 5% of what you actually travel with... and, no, you really don't need that just in case cache of 1001 Ebooks You Must Read, either.

8. Checking email while away

What did you do on your annual leave? Clear your mind? Or just your inbox? The smartphone is a misnomer on holiday and best left at home if you're the type who can't resist checking work email.

The logic is fool's gold; if you check email while on trips away, you can delete some ahead of time and get back to the office with a less-than-overflowing inbox. Whoopee.

If the checking of email on phones wasn't already almost a reflex action for many, it's about to get even easier with the price of data around the globe (especially in the EU) about to drastically reduce, which is the ultimate in false economy if you've spent hundreds to escape the daily grind. Besides, isn't an overflowing inbox the ideal excuse to take it easy on your first day back?

9. Abusing stargazing apps

10 terrible tech travel mistakes to avoid

Clumsily pointing at a free iPad app doesn't make you Professor Brian Cox

We like learning about space, and our summer holiday is usually the only time of the year when we're likely to be somewhere outdoorsy with a big horizon-to-horizon view of the night sky - perhaps even somewhere dark enough to show the Milky Way in all its glory (at what other time of year does anyone actively seek out a sunset or sunrise?).

We like having someone knowledgeable to point out constellations, star clusters and planets, but that's not the same as having some berk proudly thrust a tablet in our face to "show us" where Venus is by pointing at their free Night Sky app. And on a bright LCD screen that instantly kills our night vision, too.

Those apps - which, incidentally, all get very confused anywhere near the equator - are great for solitary learning. So come back next year when you've learned enough to actually point something out in the sky. We can all use apps.

10. Back-packing with bulky noise cancelling headphones

In theory these are great; what better way to block out the din of air travel than by donning a massive pair of headphones that cleverly create a sheen of calculated silence?

Except, when the flight is complete, they're virtually useless - too big and clumsy to wear around your neck in hot climates and a pain to stow in a backpack, they're another symptom of our obsession with how awful flying is. They almost always come with massive protective cases, and most of them don't have a passive non-battery mode.

Still, it could be worse. On a recent trip we spotted a family of five - including three kids no older than 10 years old - all sporting a pair of Beats by Dr Dre. We're sure they had a lot of fun on their holiday.

Did we forget any other irritating tech habits of tourists? Seen anyone doing all of the above at once, or something even weirder? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.

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),