The Important Dos And Don’ts Of Getting A Travel Tattoo

Getting a tattoo is a perfect alternative to another tchotchke taking up room in your suitcase when you want something to commemorate your adventure in a far-off place. After all, what’s better at reminding you of your wonderful travels than a souvenir inked onto your skin?

The catch to this seemingly foolproof plan is that there are many less-than-reputable tattoo parlors in every city. Not only is this ink going to be on you for the rest of your life, but a badly-done tattoo can pose a risk to your health. If you’re thinking about decorating your body with artful memories of your travels, know these important tips before you go under the needle.

DO carefully research a cultural tattoo

You’ve probably heard the horror stories of people who get a cultural symbol tattooed because they think it looks cute and later find out that it means something completely different from what they thought it meant. Don’t become the main character in one of these stories. The permanence of a tattoo calls for some preliminary research.

If you have Internet access, do a quick search of the symbol you want as a tattoo. For phrases in another language, ask people local to the area who speak the language if you have the right translation. For a language that uses characters, be careful not to change the characters’ designs at all, or else you may end up with a nonsensical phrase on your body forever.

DON’T drink and get tattooed

Getting a group tattoo with your travel buddies after a night out in a new city may sound like the perfect way to keep the fun going, but this can pose a great danger to your body. When you drink alcohol, you get very dehydrated and your blood gets thinner. This thinning blood effect inhibits your skin’s ability to absorb the ink, resulting in more scabbing as your tattoo heals. When your tattoos scabs, the color is more likely to fall off and leave you with an ugly tattoo.

Drinking before you get a tattoo is also going to impair your judgment when you need it most. Where you might have noticed a tattoo shop’s dirty floor and unsanitary needles when you were sober, your inebriated brain is likely to skate right over signs of bad tattoo environment.

DO pack proper tattoo aftercare

No matter where you get a tattoo done, you need to properly take care of it once it’s on your body. If you know that you want to get a tattoo at some point while you’re abroad, it is well worth it to pack the right soap, lotion, and sunscreen. And it doesn’t take professional packing services to know what counts as the appropriate products for each of these categories.

For soap and lotion, you’ll need products that are unscented and irritant-free. The same rule applies to sunscreen, which you will also want to be in an SPF that is sure to protect your skin. Getting a sunburn on top of a fresh tattoo will be very painful. If you do get a tattoo at the spur-of-the-moment while you’re traveling, go to the nearest store afterward to purchase these aftercare necessities.

DON’T settle for just any tattoo parlor

Just as you should give a good amount of thought to the design of a tattoo, you want to carefully consider where you get it done. This in-depth thought will not only help ensure that you go to a trusted shop that uses packaged needles and professional sterilizers, but it will also ensure that you pick the right artist for your tattoo.

All tattoo artists have different styles and some people even travel just to get ink from an artist they love. If you know that you want to get a tattoo while you’re in Amsterdam, do a quick search for tattoo artists in the city. Check out some shops in person to make sure they have time for you and that you like the atmosphere there.

While many people make off-the-cuff decisions to get a tattoo while traveling and love their ink, an equal amount leave the shop with something they’re less-than-proud of. Just a little forethought and preparation will help give you a tattoo that you can’t stop showing off to your friends and family when you return home.

Arts and Culture