Traveling is freedom from inhibitions. It's a step outside of the comfort zone, one that often propels people to make other spontaneous decisions – whether they be a good idea or not. What happens in Vegas doesn't always stay there – especially if that something is a tattoo. Here are five reasons why it's a terrible idea to get inked while you travel.
1. Language barriers
Perhaps the most glaring reason why you shouldn't get inked in say China or France, is that you probably don't know the language. This fact affects every part of a tattoo experience, starting the moment you walk through the parlor door. You won't be able to communicate what you want without exaggerated gestures and pictures. If that doesn't scare you, then maybe typos will. Plenty of people get phrases in different languages, and the kicker is that they're often misspelled. Sure, not everyone knows Mandarin, but once you find out your inspiring quote says something entirely different, will you feel the same love for it?
2. Cultural differences
Even if you find a trustworthy artist and nail down a phrase or image that's error proof, you still haven't considered cultural differences like colloquialisms and slang. A particular phrase might be the equivalent to saying "it's raining cats and dogs," in another language. If that's not the message you want to get across, you may want to reconsider. What's more, your tattoo could be offensive to other cultures, and if you're a globe-traversing type of gal or man, you'll see other places too. The arm ink could come back to haunt you on your next vacation.
3. Beer goggles
Culture and language barriers set aside, will you really find a bull tattoo charming and cool once you're not living in Spain? Traveling to a new place often gives people the equivalent of beer goggles, meaning you're not seeing things clearly. You might think you want it in the moment, but not necessarily forever. Remember that when you're walking through the charming parts of Paris, your reasoning might be skewed. Make permanent decisions during your daily life. You wouldn't just buy a house or adopt a child in the moment, would you?
4. Sanitation and infections
Each country has its own policies on tattoo regulation. This means that the parlor might not be clean. Is there anything worse than the thought of a dirty needle? How about a serious infection in a foreign country? Both are very serious considerations when planning a tattoo. If you get sick from an unsanitary procedure, your tattoo might not be your only scar for life. Even if you the experience goes swimmingly, you're going to have to set aside time from your trip to pick up cleaning solutions and other essentials if the tattoo parlor doesn't carry them.
5. It's an angsty love
Lonely Planet contributor Bill made an argument against tattoos in an article written in 2011. He explained that certain aspects of a trip – friendships made with the locals – are the ones that people carry with them forever. However, he pointed out that it's typically the dread locks, catchy tunes and tattoos that people sometimes wish they could forget about. A tattoo can be an "embarrassingly permanent" reminder of a trip.
If you're reading this, nodding your head, shamefully looking at that script on your ankle, consider laser tattoo removal. Put tattoo regret behind you before your next trip abroad.
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