It seems no matter where you go, you can find at least one guy who's rolling up his sleeve to show off a tattoo with an awesome travel story. That's because the experience of living in a new place and learning about a new culture can be so intoxicating and meaningful that you'll want to remember it forever with a tattoo tribute. The only caveat is that there is a sea of options for travelers, and you might not know how to portray your favorite place in the world.
If you're stuck on ideas, here are 10 cool ones that you can borrow. Happy inking!
1. An outline of the whole world
Do you love travel in general? Is there no place in the world that you wouldn't go? Then you should consider getting a simple outline of the world. Nothing says you're dedicated to traversing the globe more than a tattoo of a map. What's nice about this piece is it can be a more subtle tattoo, like a small marking on your foot, bicep or hip, or you can go big. If you're ready to really commit, this tattoo looks great across the upper back.
2. The skyline
If you were absolutely smitten the first time you saw the Denver or Chicago skyline then go with it. Designs for these tattoos are typically simple and quick enough that they don't wind up being terribly expensive, nor do they take a long time to do. That means even if it hurts, you only have to suck it up for about an hour or so, which isn't much time at all compared with some body art that takes four to five appointments.
3. A compass
Although this is a popular choice, there are so many ways that you can make this tattoo personal to you. Keep it basic and just get a compass, but pick out the font for the directions. You can elaborate on the design by getting a compass inside of another picture. For example, you could get a rose tattoo with a compass in the middle. If you need some inspiration, check out the list of compass tattoos compiled by Buzzle.
4. The name of the destination
Don't make it harder than it has to be. Just get the name of your favorite place in the world in a really cool font. You'd be surprised at how the simplest pieces can turn out to be some of the best. Then, all you have to do is think about where you want your ink. You can hike up the coolness factor here by choosing a font that's connected to your travel destination. For example, you could always pick out the font from one of your favorite novelists.
5. An airplane
How cute are tiny little airplanes? If you have an affinity for seeing the world, then clearly you've done some flying in your days. Get the outline of a plane or have it colored in. You could even put the name of the country you've visited in the middle of it. This tatt is perfect for the adventurer who's held down a position as a flight attendant.
6. A passport number
Get your passport number tattooed to your arm or foot. This isn't only awesome, but it's useful to the avid traveler. Next time you're having a hard time finding your wallet when you're buying a plane ticket just look at your foot.
7. Travel quotes
David Mitchell, British actor and comedian, once said "Travel far enough, you meet yourself." He's right you know. Many people have gone abroad for jobs, school or vacation only to return feeling more fulfilled than prior to the journey. Whether it's Mitchell's words or someone else's that resonates with you, put them on your body and live by them for the rest of your life.
8. A wave
If you've spent a summer in Hawaii or some other tropical place, then you can always remember it with this subtle mark. Get a little wave tattooed on your forearm. It's adorable, inexpensive and meaningful. What more could you ask for out of a tattoo? Oh, and it's a great conversation starter. You'll see just how many people ask you: What is it?
This tattoo has been trending recently. It's the perfect tattoo for someone who is hesitant to get an "in your face" tattoo. Just make sure you double-check the coordinates of the place you've visited. What's great about this design is you can add to it as you go along without ending up with a full sleeve. Each time you see a new city you're enamored with, jot down the coordinates. Out of all of the tattoo ideas, this one is one of the safest bets to get abroad since it's so simple.
10. The "let's pretend this didn't happen"
This last one is the anti-tattoo. If you studied abroad and accidentally got some ink you're unhappy with, don't sweat it! Just get laser tattoo removal.