Traveling with friends and family is one of the most important ways we can spend time with those we love, creating precious memories of exciting new adventures by exploring new cities or simply taking time out to relax by the beach.
For most, a few photos are enough to remember their travels, but what about those who take it a step further and get a permanent reminder in the form of a tattoo?
Using Instagram posts and Google search data, we want to find out which countries inspire people to the extent of scoring some fresh ink, ranking them on their combined totals.
Most inspirational countries for tattoos
Instagram Posts: 14,687
Google Searches: 163,100
Coming top of our list is Japan, with a combined total of over 170,000. Japanese tattoos are popular due to their distinctive and instantly recognizable traditional style, often incorporating elements of nature, which could be why they have the highest number of Google searches on our list. This leads many people to memorialize their trips to Tokyo with an authentic Japanese tattoo, despite the cultural stigma it still carries in Japan as being associated with criminality.
Instagram Posts: 130,870
Google Searches: 6,740
The highest-ranked European country on our list, Poland also has the highest total number of Instagram posts at 130,870. The fact that Poland is a very popular tourist destination could explain its high position in our rankings, as it was visited by 21.4 million people in 2019, making it the 18th most visited country in the world. Added to this, the recent renewal of interest in Slavic mythology in this country has led to more people expressing their identity through tattoos of symbols associated with it.
Instagram Posts: 5,277
Google Searches: 56,700
Close behind Poland in total searches is Mexico. Like the top country on our list, Mexico has a rich history of traditional tattooing, which dates back to the Aztec period. This suggests that tattoos taking cues from Mexican culture could be popular as a celebration of heritage for visitors to the country. Despite having a relatively low number of posts on Instagram with only 5,277, Google searches make up the bulk of the total with 56,700 bringing this country into third place on our list of tattoo inspiring destinations.
Instagram Posts: 6,239
Google Searches: 49,700
Greece takes fourth place on our list with 55,939 combined posts and Google searches. Due to its rich cultural heritage, and world-famous landmarks surrounding the capital Athens, this country serves as the inspiration for many tattoos, such as zodiac signs and figures from Greek myths and legends. The Balkan country is also one of the most visited countries in the world, making it popular with tourists who may want to remember their visit with fresh ink.
Instagram Posts: 39,627
Google Searches: 1,030
Singapore takes fifth place in our ranking with a total of 40,657 combined Instagram posts and Google searches. Despite its reputation as a conservative culture, tattooing in Singapore is becoming increasingly popular with younger generations eager to express themselves, which could explain the popularity of tattooing in the country with 39,627 Instagram posts and 1,030 Google searches.
Instagram Posts: 37,047
Google Searches: 1,350
Coming sixth on our list is Chile, home to the first Latin American president to openly sport several tattoos, as well as a tattoo culture that dates back to around 4,000 BCE, so it's no surprise this country is in our top ten. Being one of the most popular countries in the Americas for tourists, it has a combined tattoo total of 38,397, the majority of which are from 37,047 Instagram posts.
Instagram Posts: 21,402
Google Searches: 3,570
Having hosted 27 million visitors in 2019 alone, Portugal ranks amongst the top tourist spots in Europe, and with so much to offer from quiet beaches to bustling cities such as Lisbon, many tourists will want to celebrate their happy memories of Portugal with some fresh ink. With a combined total of 24,972, Portugal comes seventh on our list, the majority of which come from the 21,402 Instagram posts.
Instagram Posts: 15,972
Google Searches: 8,890
Spain ranks eighth for ink inspiration racking up a combined total of 24,862 Google searches and Instagram posts. The country catered to a record-breaking 83.7 million visitors in 2019, making it the second most visited country in the world. From Madrid to Malaga, the country attracts a vast number of tourists which could explain its popularity as a source of tattoo inspiration.
Instagram Posts: 13,679
Google Searches: 7,240
Taking ninth place is Canada, with a total of 20,919 tattoos, made up of 13,679 Google searches and 7,240 Instagram posts. Like many other countries on this list tattooing in Canada has origins in the indigenous cultures that inhabited the country before European settlement, and were used to show tribal affiliation victory in battle or for spiritual reasons.
Instagram Posts: 1,023
Google Searches: 18,700
Being the fifth most visited country in the world, with many visitors flocking to the cultural capital of Rome, it is no surprise that Italy inspires many to commemorate their visit to this country with ink. Coming in fourth for Google searches, many people look to this country for tattoo inspiration due to the hosts of famous artists and art styles it has given to the world.