Tattoos are a popular form of self-expression that dates back to the 4th millennium B.C.

It’s estimated that at least one-fifth of adults in the U.S. have at least one tattoo—I’m not one of them yet. 

Truthfully, I’ve been debating a tattoo for ages but have a fear of needles. 

I also default to the excuse that I need to settle on the perfect tattoo design. I want one that’s meaningful to me that I’ll still love when I’m older.

Travel has been incredibly important in my life, and will likely be the theme of my future tattoo.

As part of my research, I’ve compiled a list of the best travel tattoos from around the world as inspiration.

It’s Time For Take-Off…

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Photo and design by Evakrbdk

How original is this tattoo?

It’s got such a cool placement on the wrist making it almost look like the face of a watch.

I’ve got to say that view from a plane is something I’d never get sick of seeing!

World Wide Pulse

If I was on board with getting a larger tattoo, this would be one I’d consider.

I really love that it represents some of my favorite cities in the world along with the pulse of life.

Travel the World

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Photo and design by Evakrbdk

The girl with the suitcase makes this a great conversation starter. Where is she headed?

It feels like she’s about to go on the adventure of a lifetime.

Jet Away

I adore the addition of the colorful jet stream on this plane tattoo.

When in Doubt Consult a Compass

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Photo and design by Evakrbdk

This compass is so delicate and lovely to look at.

I have so many friends already eying this beauty up.

If You Can Make It Here…

I love a New York skyline tattoo. That city will always have a very special place in my heart.

The addition of the iconic quote, “if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.” really takes it to another level.

Circle the Globe

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Photo and design by Evakrbdk

Globe tattoos represent reality, peace, and harmony.

I like that the planes are circling the globe with the woman looking forward.

Looking at it reminds me of the circle of life and our responsibility to experience as much as possible during our time here.

Which Direction Will You Head?

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Photo and design by Martahdezh

Each of the four directions has multiple meanings.

For example, they can represent the stages of life: birth, youth, elder, and death.

What do they mean to you?

Passport to Paris

I wish I wasn’t afraid of getting a larger tattoo because this is one my favorites.

It’s such a unique design that would always have meaning to me.

Please someone get this tattoo—it’s so cool!

Undercover Plane

Photo and design by Martahdezh

I’m obsessed with a good plane tattoo, especially a white one that’s super low key.

I could definitely see getting a tattoo like this one.

Get a Conversation Starter

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Photo and design by Martahdez

Wondering what “Sic parvis magna” means?

It’s a Sir Francis Drake quote that means “Thus great things from small things come.”

Fly Away With Me

Is it just me, or does this remind you of a Taylor Swift album cover?

Either way, it’s a really cool tattoo.

Catch a Wave

Photo and design by Martahdez

I love this little wave. It’s such a great permanent reminder to just go with the flow!

Travel to Florence

Photo and design by Evakrbdk

Florence’s skyline looks beautiful immortalized in this tattoo.

I can’t wait to cross Italy off my bucket list!

Follow the Map

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Photo and design by taras_shtanko

How epic is this map?

I love all the details and shadows on the map and compass.

It almost feels like a map to buried treasure!

Get Lost in the Woods

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Photo and design by taras_shtanko

The layering of the trees in this forest is epic.

This is definitely a tattoo that starts a lot of conversations.

I enjoy how ominous it feels staring into the woods.

Search for Wanderlust

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Photo and design by wittybutton_tattoo

I love the placement and the message of this little tattoo.

Lady Liberty

Photo and design by Evakrbdk

This ink of Lady Liberty is truly eye catching.

I love that she means so much not only to New Yorkers, but also to immigrants all over the U.S. hoping for freedom and a better life.

What’s the Coordinates?

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Photo and design by wittybutton_tattoo

Coordinates are always so personal and private, which makes thema cool choice.

It’s the best conversation starter hearing the tale of why that location has meaning to the person.

Reach For The Moon

Photo and design by Evakrbdk

How imaginative is this ink?

I wish I could make this into a petite tattoo on my finger.

A New Kind of Earring

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Photo and design by wittybutton_tattoo

I had no idea this part of the ear could be tattooed.

I’m loving this heart and plane design and location combo.

C’est La Vie

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Photo and design by wittybutton_tattoo

For those of you that don’t speak French, let me fill you in. “C’est la vie” translates into “such is life.”

It’s the perfect reminder that sometimes we just need to accept things in our lives that we can’t control and move on.

Fly Off on an Adventure

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Photo and design by wittybutton_tattoo

I’m always craving the freedom of flying off to a distant land.

Love and Travel

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Photo and design by wittybutton_tattoo

Traveling will always have my heart, and this is the perfect symbol.

Catch a Flight

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Photo and design by wittybutton_tattoo

I know, you’re thinking seriously Ally, another plane?

I warned you I’m low key super into plane tattoos.

Take Off On Getaway Plane

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Photo and design by wittybutton_tattoo

This might be the kind of tattoo I eventually get—I love the size and the placement.

Seriously, how cute is this tattoo?

Explore to the Ends of the Earth

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Photo and design by wittybutton_tattoo

Exploration is the first thing that jumps into my mind when I see this ink.

Keep it Under the Radar

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Photo and design by wittybutton_tattoo

This petite plane is the perfect size and in a subtle spot making it an ideal first tattoo.

Hit the Surf

Photo and design by Yelizozcan_tattooer

This armband of waves is seriously stunning!

Which Direction Next?

Photo and design by Yelizozcan_tattooer

This tattoo has a really cool vintage feel to it.

I love how unique this compass tattoo is with the wheels and cogs shown behind it.

Where in the World?

Photo and design by Yelizozcan_tattooer

The colors on this tattoo are so dreamy.

I like that the universe around the earth really puts into perspective just how small the world really is.

Time Though the Hourglass

Photo and design by Yelizozcan_tattooer

What a beautiful reminder that our life on this earth is limited.

The imagery is beautiful with the heavens above and the sea of life below.

We all do our best to navigate the world during our limited time here. It’s a great reminder that our time on earth is limited.

Swing Into the Heavens

Photo and design by Yelizozcan_tattooer

As a child my favorite thing to do was swing and dream of all the adventures that I’d have in my life.

To me, this tattoo is a reminder to always be reaching (and swinging) for the heavens.

Anchors Away

Photo and design by Evakrbdk

I love a good finger tattoo and this is one of the most original designs I’ve seen done.

I like that the anchor is holding a paper boat in place.

To me, it’s a reminder that even when we feel fragile and delicate on the sea of life, we all have an inner strength keeping us in place.

Runway Landing

This ink is epic, it’s like looking at a beautiful photograph!

I wonder how long this took to complete?

Sail Into the Unknown

Photo and design by Yelizozcan_tattooer

Did you know that sailboats not only symbolize journeys and adventures, but also being carried along by the breath of life?

This is because the sails are filled with wind, just like our lungs are.

Palm Trees in Paradise

Photo and design by Yelizozcan_tattooer

Did you know flamingos represent eccentricity and originality?

I think you have to be a bit outgoing to travel to unknown places.

Flamingos also have a special place in my heart. They remind me of visiting my grandmother in Florida every winter.

Hit the Waves

Photo and design by Yelizozcan_tattooer

Did you know that the gravitational pull of the sun and moon cause waves?

I like that waves can be both towering and strong and small and soft—either way they go with the flow.

Talk About a Starry Night

Photo and design by Yelizozcan_tattooer

I really adore Vincent Van Gogh—especially Starry Night.

After spending time in St. Remy, where he painted this masterpiece, I really identify with the feeling behind it.

Did you know he painted this while in a mental institution?

I think the heavens swirl like that to reflect the swirl of emotions that humanity faces throughout their lifetime searching for meaning in life.

Sail Into the Heavens

Photo and design by Yelizozcan_tattooer

Is it just me or does this give you major Peter Pan vibes?

I enjoy that the boat is sailing through the heavens, with its sails filled by the wind.

It’s a nice reminder to always sail into the next adventure life brings you at full force.

Light Up the World

This lightbulb globe design is super original.

I like to think that it symbolizes those lightbulb going off mind moments that can take place while traveling to new places.

Dive Into the Ocean

Photo and design by Yelizozcan_tattooer

If you’re into diving, then this is the tattoo for you.

The colors in that tattoo are gorgeous. I love how the artist, Yeliz Ozcan makes the image feel so dreamy.

Take a Picture, It Lasts Longer

Photo and design by Yelizozcan_tattooer

This is great ink for a photography lover.

It’s also a good reminder to take more photos during your adventures.

Nature Around the Globe

This is such a pretty and unique take on a tattoo of the world.

Palm Trees in Paradise

Photo and design by Yelizozcan_tattooer

Did you know that palm trees are meant to represent the garden of paradise?

People who are religious even associate them with the wisdom and goodness of God (Palm Sunday).

The Heavens Above

Photo and design by Yelizozcan_tattooer

How stunning is this ink of the Northern Lights?

It’s been a dream of mine to get to see them before I die.

This tattoo really captures their majestic beauty.

The World Is a Colorful Place

Photo and design by Yelizozcan_tattooer

I’m obsessed with this whole look. How cool is this photo and tattoo/swimsuit coordination?

I love that the placement hits right below the suit line. Plus, those colors are so eye catching!

This tattoo is such a conversation starter.

Glide Through the Sky

Photo and design by Yelizozcan_tattooer

I’ve always wanted to jump out of a plane.

It seems like such an adventure of adrenaline during the free fall. Then utter peace, silence, and beauty during the slow float back toward Earth.

It’s really cool that the clouds make up the top of the parachute. It brings a whole new meaning to skydiving.

Polaroid Photography

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Photo and design by Yelizozcan_tattooer

Polaroid photos have made such a comeback over the past few years.

This tattoo of one is super original—plus, the safari scene is breathtaking.

Can you image stumbling onto this scene during a safari?

All Around the World

Photo and design by Yelizozcan_tattooer

This tattoo is so pretty to gaze at. I like how it looks on the upper back and the colors are stunning!

Travel Addict Tattoo

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How cool is this travel tattoo?

I saw this on a new friend when we were in India and fell in love with.

She designed it to represent all of her favorite places around the world.

Did you find the perfect travel tattoo inspiration on this list, or are you like me and overthinking all the options? 

In case this list inspires you to get a tattoo of your own, I’ve linked all the artists along with the images.

Right now I’m gravitating toward a small plane hidden on a finger or behind my ear. What do you think? Let me know your favorite travel tattoo in the comments below!


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