For those who are into tattoos, getting a tattoo as a souvenir while traveling is one of the best ways to remember a good trip. By doing some research into the local tattoo scene where you’ll be traveling you can make a decision on where you’d like to go, what styles are in, and any local knowledge that might be pertinent.
Here are some interesting pieces of info on international tattoo scenes as well as some tips and pointers to think about before you get inked while overseas.
Avoid Shops With Red Flags
Don’t be that guy (or girl) who gets a weird sketchy tattoo from a temporary stand set up on a boardwalk, or some weird back alley job. Make sure you do your due dilligence on the shop where you get inked. Check around for some reviews and ensure that they are practicing adequate safety measures and observing cleanliness standards. Tattoo shops are a legitimate business and any artist worth their salt is going to have a properly set up shop. Avoid shops that have a ton of touristy stuff for sale too, like t-shirts, shot glasses, bongs, etc.
Take Online Reviews With A Grain Of Salt
Although online reviews can be a great source of information, be wary of places that seem “too good to be true”. Check out their websites, online portfolios, and any hashtags or references people have made to them online. It’s a good idea to ensure that there’s a decent fan following or at least a loyal clientele.
Simple Is Better
A vacation probably isn’t the best time to get an entire sleeve tattoo or back tattoo. Smaller and simpler may be the way to go when in a foreign country. Unless it’s something that you’ve really planned ahead for and this trip is a destination just to get tatted by an artist that you like, it’s best not to get anything too complex. The best large tattoos are generally done in multiple sessions or at least have a lot of back and forth between the subject and the artist.
Time Your Tattoo Thoughtfully
Getting tatted is probably best left towards the end of the trip, after you’ve taken in all the sun and sand and water or touring around that you want. It’s also a good idea to drop into the shop you want to get tatted at beforehand and have a talk with the artist about what you’re thinking of doing. This gives you a chance to get a feel for the artist and the shop as well to ensure you get a feel-good vibe.
Keep Your Health In Mind
It goes without saying that most tattoo shops in first world countries have really gotten good about keeping disease at bay and following basic cleanliness standards. However, when you’re straying more and more off the beaten path into some third world countries, it can sometimes be a gamble. The language barrier is also an issue. Just make sure you check around and follow your gut!
Hey, you only live once. If you’re thinking that getting a tattoo on your life-changing backpacking trip is the perfect endcap, by all means go for it. Even if it’s not 100% perfect it will commemorate a period in your life when you were happy and free.