Travel Tattoos: The New Souvenir.

I recently partnered up with a handful of lovely fellow female bloggers from around the globe to see what kind of travel-inspired tattoos they had. Let’s face it, sometimes a photo album or souvenir just isn’t enough!

Here are each of their stories:


“For us travel bloggers, it can be hard to discuss homesickness when traveling or living in a new place. I moved to London, UK for a year & had a fantastic time truly exploring and getting knee-deep into a brand new city. However, there were moments where I was so miserable, sitting alone in my tiny flat eating pesto pasta for the third time that week, wishing I was anywhere but there. Out in the wilderness. By the sea. Home. Wherever. So when a friend wanted to get her first tattoo, I decided to tag along & add another to my small but growing collection: mountains and firs for this Pacific Northwest girl, to keep me grounded and going. It also reminds me that nature, the world, is so much bigger than we are, & that we’re all just guests on this incredible host of a planet.”

-Mary Leong,


“I got this tattoo while living in Thailand a few years – I got a scholarship from the Thai Government to go and study Buddhist Ethics in Muay Thai (Thai Boxing). It’s written in Khmer but the language is Pali (Ancient Thai). I wanted to get a traditional bamboo tattoo (Sak Yant) to symbolise the role that traditional Muay Thai has had in my life as well as commemorating my trip there. There are two prayers written here, the first is a prayer to seek refuge in the three jewels of Buddhism, the second is a prayer to give me the spirit of the king of horses. I left the tattoo unfinished as a reason to go back to Thailand some day”.

-Sarah George,


“I was never a fan of needles, and I always faint whenever I get my blood tests done. So when I got my first tattoo, I surprised myself. On my birthday, I went to a tattoo shop to inquire about how much a tattoo would cost, if it hurts, and to possibly book an appointment. I was told that since I only wanted a tiny airplane, they could just do it right then and there since it wouldn’t take long. I said, ‘mmm, give me a bit of time’, left the tattoo shop, then called back in a half hour & said ‘okay! let’s do it!’ I came out with a tattoo 15 minutess later. I was surprised that it didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would! Going to the dentist hurts more! I got an airplane because it’s my reminder that travel is my one true love 🙂 I also decided to get the tattoo on my wrist so whenever I take a photo of me holding my passport, my tattoo will show”. 

-Justine Kimoden,


“I got this nautical compass back when I was 20, still in college and feeling ready to burst out into the world. It is a reminder to myself to always be adventurous, to seek new experiences and to keep learning. After seven years, five of them semi-nomadic, I think it’s served it’s purpose well”.
-Laura Bronner,



“The Wanderlust tattoo is more of a general travel related design than a specific place, but it was also one of the ones I wanted for the most time. It is about the whole world really, about freedom, about places I have been and places I will go. Memories and possibilities all in one! New York is also a very special tattoo to me. New York is somewhere that my heart truly belongs to and the place we chose to get married. It is a dedication to the city itself, to our love for it and for each other. It also has a couple of references in there to the NY Mets who I have followed for a number of years!”
-Nic Hilditch-Short,



“I moved to Phuket, Thailand in 2012 & lived there for 2 years. I fell in love with the country and the people, and felt so connected to my new home. It will always be a second home to me, & am even planning another trip back in April!

Although I had already been bitten by the travel bug, it wasn’t until I moved to Thailand that I started my travel blog & became a full-time blogger. It changed my life so much that before I moved back to California, I had to get the tattoo that I had been wanting the entire time I was there. The traditional Sak Yant tattoo was painful, but will always hold a special place in my heart and I love it more and more each day!”

-Marina Dominguez,



“I got this tattoo after living in Seville, Spain for 5 months. I had a tough time while I was there, and travel was the only thing that made me feel happy.Viajar es vivir is spanish for ‘to travel is to live’ and comes from a Hans Christian Anderson poem of the same name. Words to live by!”

-Hannah Roberts,

“I chose this tattoo because to me the trail behind the plane is my journey and the paper plane is me! I first saw this design in 2012 and fell in love with it, but I only got it early this year and I am so so happy with it!”

– Charlotte Beeby,

I collect maps and globes. Plus, I travel pretty much full time, so this was really special to me.

– Sarah Johnson,


“I got this tattoo after completing a roadtrip across the United States. It means ‘adventure’ in Arabic- and I do actually know the language! It was the perfect first tattoo. I can’t wait to get more travel tattoos!”



“I got my tattoo whilst traveling around Europe a few years ago. I’d just broken up with my then boyfriend, and decided to go on the trip we were supposed to do together by myself. It was the most daunting, but exhilarating thing I’ve ever done, and I had the time of my life. I didn’t have too much of a plan and wasn’t sure where my life was headed at that point, so whilst in Prague I decided to get this tattoo. It’s by my favorite author JRR Tolkien, and perfectly represented how I was feeling, plus I’m a huge fan of the Lord of the Ring and Hobbit books and films”.

-Holli McCarthy,


“I took an hour and a half Shinkansen ride to Tokyo, where a friend found an illegal tattoo parlor nestled in a Shinjuku apartment. I took pieces from Japanese culture and put them together with the rabbit pounding rice cakes on the moon fused with the goddess of mirth (Okame or Otafuku).  Note, I was young and stupid, but I still love my tattoo!”

-Amie Cuhaciyan,

To read the full story behind Amie’s tattoo, go to:

Getting a tattoo in Japan

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  • Reply sarah

    I recently got my second tattoo in Thailand. It’s pretty special as it is a Sak Yant bamboo tattoo given to me by a monk which is not an easy thing to get for a woman. Such a special experience!

    November 29, 2015 at 5:11 am
  • Reply Megan | Traveling Nine to Fiver

    Now I’m not really a tattoo person so it might not be the souvenir for me, but there are some beautiful ones included here.

    November 29, 2015 at 10:31 pm
  • Reply Lara Dunning

    One of my old boyfriends got a tatoo in Tahiti. I think its a great way to bring that place and experience back with you.

    November 30, 2015 at 12:57 am
  • Reply Michelle Vogel

    I’ve always wanted to do a post about travel tattoos. I find tattoos are especially ubiquitous amongst the Southeast Asia travelers (presumably because it’s cheap and easy to get tatted in that region). Interesting to see what people choose, isn’t it?

    January 13, 2016 at 9:39 pm
    • Reply navigableworld

      SO interesting! I loved seeing them all 🙂

      January 13, 2016 at 10:18 pm
  • Reply Stanley Ahrenholz

    I feel pretty fortunate to have encountered your entire webpage and look forward to plenty of more amazing times reading here. Thanks a lot again for a lot of things.

    April 10, 2016 at 11:57 am
    • Reply navigableworld

      No, thank YOU! 🙂

      June 1, 2016 at 1:22 pm
  • Reply solosophie

    I love this article: what an interesting read about the story and meaning behind all of these tattoos!

    May 3, 2016 at 8:57 am
    • Reply navigableworld

      Thank you, Sophie! It was such a fun collab post to put together 🙂 Some pretty powerful stuff behind those beautiful tattoos!

      June 1, 2016 at 1:22 pm

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