Personal Stories

Tattoos And Travel

For as long as I can remember tattoos have fascinated me; from the skill of the tattoo artist to the meaning behind them.  Tattoos are important to certain cultures and there’s a long history of body marking going back thousands of years.  I knew I wanted a tattoo since I was a teenager but wasn’t sure what to get.  I wanted it to mean something to me and not something I’d regret.  Well I definitely took my time and I got my first tattoo two years ago.  I now have two tattoos and I can honestly say I love both of them.  No regrets ☺  But I have yet to get a travel tattoo.  With my fascination of tattoos and my love for travel I thought it would be perfect to write a post about people’s travel tattoo stories, whether it was to remember their time in a particular country or to bring a loved one with them in memory on their travels.  Here are their stories.

Gemma from Two Scots Abroad

Hot damn!  Have you seen the Canadian Rockies?  For those lucky enough to experience the jagged mountains with snow tips surrounded by turquoise lakes you will understand why I had to get Banff, inked on my arm!  I already had quite a few works of art on my body but whilst in Leon, Nicaragua (six months later) a British expat tattooist was recommended to us.  We checked him out and were given the price of $60.  We spent eight hours in the studio with the tattooist, approximately five hours was spent on me.  $60 for five hours! Well worth it I think you’ll agree…

Gemma Two Scots Abroad Tattoo

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Christian from Unusual Traveler

I got my travel tattoos on my feet done it my home city in Norway, it´s a small map over Europe and a compass that´s always pointing north home to Norway so I can always find my way back home.  I have been stopped numerous times by the police while traveling over the years, asking me where I’m going and what I’m doing here, and they don’t really find it funny when I tell them, I have no idea where I’m going but I got a map and compass on me that I follow.


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Sarah from Paper Ink and Passports

My travel tattoo is a world map that goes around my left wrist.  It’s quite large and but it’s just an outline so it’s not overpowering ☺  I got it for two reasons… the first is that I collect maps and globes – I love them, I think they are so interesting, especially if you find the ones from the mid 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s when borders were constantly shifting.  The second reason for my tattoo is that I love travel.  Plain and simple, my tattoo is everywhere I have been and everywhere I want to go.  I love anything to do with travel… talking about it, reading about it, writing about it, learning about the world… meeting people from around the world, I could go on and on and on about how much I love traveling.  I love our world and that’s why I got this tattoo.




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Hannah from Getting Stamped

A week before our trip around the world it was making me sick thinking about not seeing my kitty cat Tinkerbell every day.  I decided to bring her with me on my travels around the world by getting a tattoo of her on my side!  Now no matter where in the world I am I see her and she’s always with me.  If you ask me she’s probably one of the most well-traveled cats in the world!



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Enni from Denia Hania

For a long time, I had been dreaming of a tattoo of something that makes me go through even the dullest Mondays, TRAVEL.  It was all clear to me what I’d get and as it was my first tattoo ever, I decided to go with a simple and small tattoo of outlines of an airplane.  I wanted to get the tattoo to my inner arm so that it would always remind me of my dream to travel the world and work towards my dreams.  It also symbolizes my growing process as a person and that I will always remember I have a freedom to choose which way to go in my life.  It has become a part of me and I couldn’t imagine my arm without it anymore!

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Tatiana from Efzin – A Blissful Life

I always wanted to get a tattoo, maybe some of them.  But the design had changed so many times throughout the years. But when the time came, I knew it.  I was living in Vienna and sure that I had to get a tattoo that transpired my biggest passion: to travel, to live abroad, to be all over the place.  I decided about a very minimalist outline of a world map, and the next week I was having it done.  It was by an artist, friend of a friend, in Nis, Serbia.  The second photo was taken at the Lock Ness, in Scotland.



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Leonie from Lo On The Go

I got a tattoo in Thailand this year.  Its a simple tattoo of a wave.  This means a lot to me as I am a great lover of the ocean, scuba diving and marine life and I wanted something simple but meaningful to represent my love and passion.  This was done my bamboo in Koh Tao while I was there diving.  I must say I was a little bit tipsy when I got the Tattoo done.  Asking it to be smaller then I actually wanted it to be (better then it being to big guess).

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Laura Jane from Anything But Marzipan

I was born and bread in the hearty countryside of north Cork and I have always had a dream of travelling the world.  I decided that I wanted to look back at my 20’s in years to come and remember years of travelling, making the best memories and experiencing everything the world has to offer.  I left for Australia when I was 22 years old.  I thought it was going to be all fun and games to begin with, but after being broken down in a new city, I built myself right up again and realised that I truly loved experiencing the culture and different ways of living in a completely new city.  I love tattoos. I got my first tattoo of a lightening bolt when I turned 18.  When I was 24 I got my Travel Tattoo.  Of course, there are many travel related tattoos on the internet and I believe mine to be a ‘cliche’ but I don’t care!  I love it!  It is a compass, and my partner got the same tattoo as we went through this part of our lives completely together and the memory will forever be imprinted on us!  I have a few other tattoos that are related to travel but this one is my only dedicated travel tattoo for now.
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Emily from Emily Luxton Travels


I got my tattoo in Lima, Peru at a tattoo show on the roof terrace of Periwana Hostel.  I’d been vaguely considering getting a pterodactyl on my wrist for a few months, and when the hostel staff came looking for volunteers to go first I decided it was fate!  My pterodactyl is for my mum, who passed away when I was 18.  Her favourite movie was Jurassic Park, and it’s one of the things that reminds me of her most.  So, the tattoo has a really deep meaning for me and it’s one that’s not immediately obvious to other people.  But, because of where I got the tattoo, it also reminds me of one of best and happiest times of my life; my first proper backpacking trip and the real start of my career as a travel blogger.  It took a lot of guts (and a few pisco sours) to sit in front of a crowd of strangers and get a tattoo, and ever since then when I’m feeling scared to do something, I give my tattoo a quick glance to remind myself of all the brave things I’ve done since!  It acts a a sort of talisman, in a way, and because of that I love it despite the fact that it’s actually not a very good tattoo.  It’s slightly wonky, the colouring is bad, and most people mistake it for a bat, but I don’t care; it’s got such an important meaning to me that I wouldn’t change it for the world.



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Tara from For The Love Of Travel

I have two tattoos I got abroad- one in Rome and one in Milan.  The first is a heart on my wrist I did on a whim in Rome one day after day drinking wine haha.  I went with two friends who knew what they wanted and I was fretting about what I should get and which of my parents I should get it for.  I ended up getting it for myself and it represents self love and acceptance.  The funny thing is the tattoo artist screwed it up so one side is much fatter than the other.  It’s not perfect but I love it anyway, just like me.  The other tattoo is an olive branch on my rib cage I got with my Italian host sister ( I did foreign exchange in high school).  She got a similar design on the opposite rib cage so when joined, they form a tree. The olive branch is also a symbol of the region I lived in, Puglia, Italy. 



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34 thoughts on “Tattoos And Travel”

  1. I absolutely love this post! I’ve got two tattoos (got one when I was 17 and the other when I was 20 if I remember correctly) years later I still love them because of the meaning that they hold 🙂 I’m yet to get a travel tattoo but it’s definitely on the bucket list 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cool idea for a post…I don’t have any tattoos but am always tempted….Hubby and I are moving to Thailand in October so we’re talking about it but I’m so indecisive because sometimes I feel like tattoos are so overdone that they aren’t special anymore so we’ll see. Fun to read about everyone’s motivations as to why they got theirs! A gal pal has the world map tattoo’d on her arm and fills in a country with color every time she goes so I think that’s pretty awesome 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Make it special to you that’s all that matters 😊 Thailand would be an awesome place to get one. And your friend’s tattoo sounds so cool!


  3. I LOVE this post! I also have a travel tattoo (a half moon on my wrist) which I came to me on a bus ride through Turkey. It represents all the moons I have been under and half of the Turkish flag as I will never forget the amazing feeling in that moment that I decided to get it 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh Hannah – that cracked me up! I won’t be getting our late King Charles dog on my body anytime soon. Great post Marteen, thanks for featuring me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 😂 it was so cute of her to take Tinkerbell with her 😊 You’re very welcome Gemma and thank you for contributing!


  5. I always said I wouldn’t get a tattoo because I change my mind easily and would hate to get something and not like it anymore. Recently I have been wondering IF I were to get a tattoo what would it be? I still don’t know. It would definitely have to have personal meaning.

    I also had the thought of “go big or go home” and that I would want a full arm or back full if I were to do it. That was a strange thought for me Lol!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely take time to think about it. There’s nothing worse than regretting it and the laser removal if you can afford it is supposed to be more painful than actually getting the tattoo. Go big or go home would be awesome 😊


  6. My “Wanderlust” tattoo is one of my favourites but there’s some gorgeous inspiration here – might have to start thinking about a new one soon!

    Dani x

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My favorite is from Carly from Girl Out Of Bounds. At first glance I didn’t understand the significance, but her message was really deep. We all go through ups and downs but we are still on our life’s path.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love travel tattoos. Thank you for compiling this collection! Now I need to get another. I’ve got 5 travel tattoos… and need so many more!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is a really great idea for a collaborative post! Don’t have any tattoos myself, but I enjoyed seeing what other travelers came up with!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is great! I’ve got a couple tattoos. The perception in Uganda (where I live) is that if you’re tattooed, you’re really tough. I can often hear people whispering behind me when I walk by. Which is hilarious as Ugandans are WAY tougher than you’re average Canadian!!

    Tattoos are a great conversation starter when traveling!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. These are such clever ideas! I especially like the tattoo of the cat so she can always have her beloved pet with her. I personally am scared to get a tattoo because I change my mind all the time. So if I get something now, I probably won’t like it in five years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah bringing your cat with you on your travels as a tattoo is a cool idea. It’s so important to make sure it’s what you want and you take your time in deciding that. Laser removal is quite expensive and I’ve been told it’s more painful than getting the tattoo.


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