Last month I crossed something off my bucket list: I traveled solo for the first time. After saving money from my part time job, I was able to buy a ticket from Washington, D.C. to Spain, and for three weeks I visited my family in Barcelona and Rota, Cadiz. For me, traveling is more about seizing the moment than bringing back souvenirs or posting on your Snapchat story the entire day – it’s a way of disconnecting from your daily routine and creating unforgettable memories.

Here are some tips I have for first-time solo travelers:

1. You Can Do It.

Trust yourself and find new gems | Lydia Antonio-Vila

For years, I had been dreaming of saving enough and being able to decide my own travel journey, my own rules. First of all, if I can do it, you can do it too. The first step, of course, is to save money and buy the necessary tickets for your travels, but after that all you have to do is trust yourself and always be aware of your surroundings. Traveling is easier and quicker when you’re alone (as opposed to in a group).

2. Be Smart About Your Money.

Before you travel, make sure you make a plan on how much you can actually spend and how much you need to keep in your savings. Shopping can be incredibly tempting when you’re traveling, so make sure that you stick to your personal plan. I was lucky enough to stay at with my family, so I didn’t have to worry about paying for a hotel or hostel, so make sure to keep that in mind!

3. Live In The Moment.

Make sure to keep your memories in pictures | Lydia Antonio-Vila

This goes back to my opening statement; for me, traveling is more about disconnecting from your daily routine and experiencing life in another part of the country, or world. I suggest you go out and, if you don’t already, make an effort to meet new people (it’s amazing to see the connections you can make with people that live across an ocean from you). Basically, don’t be on your phone the entire time!

4. Take Good Photos.

This is obviously more of a personal requirement, but photos can be extremely impactful (especially when you’re back home and want to reminisce about traveling). If you don’t have a good camera (or a cousin in Barcelona who takes great photos), learn to use your phone’s camera and download editing apps to really help capture the moment.