Look at this gorgeous moon design
Fall in love with your design at least twice // A lot of people have different methods for making sure the tattoo they want is really the one they're ok seeing forever. You can set your phone background to a picture of the tattoo, tape a print out of it around your house, even get a service such as inkbox tattoo to make you a custom temporary tattoo that you can position as you would a real one to see how you like it. In addition to all of these I suggest finding a picture of something similar to what you want online, or draw it yourself, look at it for a few days, make sure you love it, then put it away. About a week or two later go back to the picture and see if you still have that flush of I want this inked on my body. If so? You're usually good to go.
Pick your artist carefully // Tattoo artists usually have specialties. For example, if you want a portrait of your grandmother on your arm, find a tattoo artist who does good portrait work. If you roll up to an artist who is better at landscapes and want them to portray your grandma in a realistic way you might end up disappointed. Neither you or the artist wants that to happen--after all your tattoo will always be an advertisement (good or bad) for the artist! Look up several different parlors, read lots and lots and lots of reviews, and actually walk into the shops to have a talk with your would-be artist. Make sure the parlor is clean, don't be afraid to ask about it! Whenever someone begins a tattoo make sure they use sterilized needles they pull out of a sealed package in front of you. If you don't see the package, ask! They should use new everything, seat covers, paper towels, everything to prevent infection. Ask if you're not sure. Pick an artist from all of your research and set an appointment--keep in mind the bigger and more intricate the tattoo the more appointments (and money) you'll need.
Save your money // Tattoos, at least the good ones, cost money. Now, the small crescent moon on my foot that I got in Italy cost about €40-€50 (around $50 US dollars). Amrita got flowers behind her ear and hers was around €50-€60. Small tattoos will obviously cost less than the bigger tattoos, although if you have a small tattoo but it's very intricate detail work it will cost more than a more basic small tattoo. Of course this doesn't include tip--always tip your artist. They're performing a service for you and most of the money you pay for your tattoo goes to their rent, ink and other materials etc. Tip your artist what you find to be appropriate for your entire experience--how comfortable they made you, how they listened to what you wanted, and of course how you like the finished product.
Make sure you have the proper supplies for taking care of the finished tattoo // Tattoos are open wounds when they're finished and you have to treat them as such. Leave the bandage the artist applies to it on for as long as they tell you (for my little tattoo it was 2 hours before I could take it off) and ask your artist what they recommend to put on it. We put vaseline on our tattoos at the recommendation of our artist. Use the cream for the first few weeks a few times a day and every time before you get in the shower to preserve the ink. It's completely normal if you see a little ink runoff in the first shower after you get your tattoo, don't panic. A scab will form over your tattoo--do not pick at it. If it itches try lightly slapping the skin so you don't pick the scab off--infections happen this way. Let the scab fall off by itself. Your tattoo is healed! After this I would recommend using the cream just a little bit longer and if your tattoo is somewhere that gets a lot of sun use sunscreen to prevent fading.
Prepare yourself to face a lot of varied reactions // If you love your tattoo that's all that matters. However, a lot of people don't like tattoos because they think they're unprofessional so unless you work (or plan to work) in a place where tattoos are accepted and celebrated, you'll have to position your tattoos where you can cover them with normal work clothes. Unfortunately this usually means no hand, neck, arm, lower leg tattoos. Besides the work angle, if you're very concerned about how people will treat or view you once you have your tattoo, don't get one. After going through all the research, spending the money, and taking the time to get a design you like, worrying about what people are going to say about it shouldn't even be on your radar. Of course, it's normal to worry about what your family and friends will say but if you are very concerned about being harshly judged by them or by strangers, to the point of wearing clothes that specifically cover your tattoo when you're not at work, don't get the tattoo.
These are my suggestions on things you need to know before you get a tattoo! Do you have a tattoo and want to share your own thoughts? Thinking about getting a tattoo and want to chat? Let's talk about it below!