Samantha Brown's Top Tip For Protecting Yourself Against Pickpockets While Traveling

Unfortunately, some people avoid traveling to particular places or altogether due to stories of scams and theft. While some inherent risks come with travel, these risks are typically overblown. Remember, horror stories gain much more traction than stories of people having an awesome, safe time while exploring. With that said, risks are risks, but there's a big difference between traveling fearfully (or not at all) and traveling carefully.

When someone envisions the risks of traveling to a new place, they tend to think of pickpockets — and for understandable reasons. Pickpockets are an issue, especially at famous attractions in popular tourist destinations. For instance, Money, a UK-based price comparison service, recently studied Tripadvisor reviews to determine places with the highest mention of pickpockets. According to this data, the top three places with the highest pickpocketing risk are Los Ramblas in Barcelona, the Effiel Tower in Paris, and Trevi Fountain in Rome.

Should you avoid these places due to pickpockets? Of course not. There are plenty of ways to travel carefully (and not fearfully), and travel expert Samantha Brown recently shared her top tip for avoiding pickpockets — and it's pretty fashionable advice.

Dress to blend in with local style

"When I'm on TV I wear very bright colors so that I stand out from the crowd. When I'm not on TV I like to blend in," Brown wrote on "Thieves and pickpockets will scan a crowd for whoever grabs their attention and it's usually the clothes they're wearing."

And this makes total sense. Pickpockets do target tourists due to their lack of situational awareness and their tendency to be distracted and/or overwhelmed by their surroundings. If you don't look like a tourist, you won't attract unwanted attention from thieves trying to identify their marks in touristy areas. "So even if it's impossible to look like a local, I always (try to) dress like one," Brown adds.

Brown also brings up a good point concerning appropriate dress. What does "dressing to blend in" actually mean? Brown explains that it completely depends on where you're traveling, recommending that travelers should "dress to the nines" in Europe, very casually in Latin America, and very conservatively in Asia. While there are always exceptions, these are pretty accurate fashion staples in these regions.

Be smart about your bags

Along with clothes, Brown also explained that travelers should be careful when choosing their bags. While you may appreciate a good day bag or fanny-pack to carry your stuff, especially when you're on an urban safari, Brown warns against these types of bags.

"Backpacks and fanny-packs are travel friendly but label you as a tourist (with cash and camera) immediately," Brown writes. "I like a nice stylish cross-body bag that keeps my hands free. When I'm in a crowd or subway it's always in front of me with my hand over the zipper." She also suggests choosing a stylish bag, as something "too utilitarian" could flag you as a tourist.

Traveling does come with risks, but as Brown explains, there are plenty of common sense ways to avoid pickpockets. Along with minding your appearance, she also recommends not wearing earbuds in public, even when exercising, and "avoid looking like a tourist wandering around." In other words, blend in — but travel with a little confidence.