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Safety can be a concern for women exploring the world on their own. In the Franco era, solo women travelers were harassed by macho males. Spanish men are much more hip today and much more politically correct.

As always, it's good to avoid deserted streets at night. Hitchhiking is never safe, of course. Dress conservatively, especially in remote towns. If women in micro-bikinis, say, parade down the streets of Torremolinos, as many of them do, it's inevitable that they will be whistled at. Even lewd suggestions might be called out to them. One single woman we know wears a wedding band, even though she's not married. Some solo women travelers today even carry a whistle on a key chain. Others take self-defense courses to ward off a potential attack. If you're a victim of catcalls and vulgar suggestions, look straight ahead and just keep walking. If followed, seek out the nearest police officer.

Check out the award-winning website Journeywoman (www.journeywoman.com), a "real-life" women's travel-information network where you can sign up for a free e-mail newsletter and get advice on everything from etiquette and dress to safety. The travel guide Safety and Security for Women Who Travel by Sheila Swan and Peter Laufer (Travelers' Tales Guides), offering common-sense tips on safe travel, was updated in 2004.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.