Every legendary vacation deserves an聽epic keepsake. Maybe it鈥檚 a shot glass from the 鈥渨e got a little outta control鈥 girls trip, a sweet postcard to memorialize a summer weekend getaway with your boo or maybe, if you鈥檙e feeling really spontaneous, a travel tattoo to commemorate your incredible solo adventure. While going YOLO might seem like the best idea ever when you鈥檙e in paradise, there are serious things to consider before getting聽inked in unknown territory. Luckily, Rus Laich, a tattoo artist at The Honorable Society in LA, is here to help. Read on for five things to keep in mind before going under the needle when you鈥檙e聽a long way聽from home.


1. Avoid weird locations and shops with red flags. Tattoo shops are legitimate businesses, nothing less. You wouldn鈥檛 take a doctor鈥檚 appointment in an alleyway would you? Same here. Rus advises, 鈥淣ever get tattooed on a beach, a boardwalk or anyplace that also sells bongs and novelty t-shirts. Tattoos are expensive. If a shop can鈥檛 survive without selling selfie sticks, it鈥檚 because their tattoos suck and the locals don鈥檛 go there.鈥 Good looking out, Rus.

2. Don鈥檛 trust everything you read online. Review sites can be lifesavers when you鈥檙e traveling to a new locale, but mostly for things like finding margaritas or tacos, not places to get permanent art tattooed on your body. Rus agrees, adding, 鈥淲hile it鈥檚 generally good to stay away from places with horrible ratings, don鈥檛 inherently trust a shop just because they got all their friends to post聽great things about them on a review site. Use it to find what鈥檚 available, then check out their websites and portfolios. You鈥檇 be amazed how many ways a simple skyline or a horseshoe can be screwed up.鈥


3. Keep it simple. Vacation is not the time to dive into a sleeve or mural that will cover your entire back. 鈥淯nless you planned ahead and made getting tattooed the focus of your trip, stick to a palm tree or whatever symbolism adorns that city鈥檚 post cards and shot glasses,鈥 says Rus. 鈥淭attoo TV shows lead you to believe a sleeve can be drawn up while you walk next door and get a Frappuccino. They can鈥檛. Save the memorial to Nanna for when you鈥檙e home. Vacations are fun, so get a fun tattoo. You鈥檙e in New Orleans? Get a crawfish holding a beer. Done!鈥

4. Timing is everything.聽When you鈥檙e getting ink done on a vacation, logistics are everything. 鈥淕et tattooed toward the end of the trip, but don鈥檛 leave it till the last second,鈥 Rus advises. Find a shop early in your trip and make an appointment for the day before you leave. You鈥檒l need to avoid beaches, lakes and pools after you get your tattoo, so don鈥檛 make yourself miserable watching your friends have fun while you鈥檙e wearing a sweatshirt under an umbrella all week [because you got your tattoo on day one].鈥

5. Health hazards are mostly history. Rus confirmed that the old fears of parlors reusing needles and operating in unsanitary conditions are, for the most part, a thing of the past. Which is great news all around, but doesn鈥檛 mean you can get away without doing ANY research. 鈥淚f a shop cares enough to hire good tattooers, they鈥檙e generally going to practice good hygiene. You鈥檙e much more likely to get a misspelled name than hepatitis, so again, look at the portfolios before you commit!鈥 Rus says.

Did you get a tattoo while on vacay? We want to see it! Tag us in your Instas聽@BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)