Paranoia has become something of an American tradition. We're raised on a diet of stranger-danger. Radio talk shows brim with alarmist fare -- and the last time you heard a TV promo that promised "Good news! Film at 11!" was probably never.

But when it comes to travel, the fear-mongering goes into hyperdrive. Guidebooks are peppered with alarming advisories about pickpockets, gypsies and cons. And a recent survey conducted for Experian, the credit report folks and purveyors of ProtectMyID identity theft protection, found that 30 percent of travelers had either experienced identity theft while on the road or knew someone who had. (Ahem. The inclusion of "knows someone who has" renders the 30 percent figure ludicrous. Everyone always knows someone, who knows someone, who once experienced something terrible.)

Tales of pickpockets abound, but usually, it's travelers' behavior that puts their valuables at risk in the first place. So stop fretting. Use common sens, and you're going to have a wonderful trip, wherever you go. But please tell us you're not doing any of these incredibly dopey things:

1 Some 65 percent of travelers do not use a hotel room safe to store valuables when they travel, according to the Experian survey. Hotel room safes are not infallible -- and you shouldn't be toting the royal jewels when you travel, anyway -- but it's foolish to leave cash, passports or iPads lying around. It's not that you shouldn't trust the hotel staff; it's that hotel room doors and windows get left open sometimes.

2 The safest way to carry cash and cards is in a money belt. Somehow, people mess this up. They confuse money belts with fanny packs and wear them on the outside. Or they leave them on the beach, under a towel, while they swim. "Money belts don't work if they're anywhere but under your clothes," Rick Steves says. "I once met an American woman whose purse was stolen -- and in her purse was her money belt."

3 Your smartphone or tablet -- yes, that minicomputer with access to your entire private life -- has a simple password function, but 69 percent of you don't use it, according to a 2013 Consumer Reports study. Some 3.1 million smartphones were stolen in the United States last year alone. A screen-locked, password-protected iPad or Android is a less tempting target. Use the device's "Find My iPhone" feature (or Android Device Manager for tablets), and you can lock or erase the contents remotely.

4 An astonishing 27 percent of Experian survey respondents brought their Social Security cards on vacation. You might as well gift-wrap it, too ... maybe add a Post-it with your mother's maiden name.

5 Some 67 percent of travelers don't bother to alert their banks when they go on vacation. The result? Your bank's fraud alert may freeze your cards the moment the first charge comes through from Reykjavik, leaving you krona-less on the Laugavegur.