As a blonde with Viking blood I’ve never been mistaken for a local anywhere except once in Stockholm – when I child spoke to me in Swedish – fortunately her English was better than my Swedish!
I disagree about trusting hotel safes. I know people hold great store in them – but think about it – there’s a master code/key another way in – there must be. I never ever leave anything really valuable (passport, cash cards) in my room – they are next to my skin in a money “belt” (though mind is a shoulder holster style). Obviously I have a decoy wad of cash for the day’s expenses. I’ve lost that decoy exactly twice in over 30 years of travel – once to a pick pocket – once through stupidity because I put a day pack over the back of a chair in a cafe.
The last few years I’ve carried an expensive ultrabook laptop with me. I have it in good quality sleeve, inside a scruffy NZPost envelope. It’s in a 20 yo backpack which is a bit grubby – and I normally have my dirty underwear on top. It’s never been touched even in the cheapest least secure rooms. Basically most of the world makes assumptions based on what you wear and your luggage 🙂 I figure the ones that are targets are the kids on their Macbook Airs on display in the cafe or lounge.
I’m fairly cynical about the warnings about Europe at the moment. I lived in London in the 80s – during the IRA bombing campaign. You knew to avoid abandoned parcels and keep your wits about you – nothing much has changed – it’s just a different religion’s extremists now. And social media can bring you better pictures faster.