November 29, 2021

Traveling Internationally With Piercings


Most people with piercings don’t think twice if they need to travel in North America. Piercings in Canada and the U.S. are pretty common, and although there may be a little bit of a hassle at security, in general, piercings are not a big deal. This can change, however, if you want to travel internationally. Depending on the country you want to visit, there can be significant rules and regulations around piercings that you need to be aware of before traveling.

In this post, we’ll look at some international restrictions and attitudes around piercings and give you some tips to help make your next international experience of travel with piercings a lot smoother.

Cultural Norms Around Body Piercing

In many places around the world, piercings are not common and may even be looked down upon or considered illegal. It is important to research the cultural norms and attitudes of where you want to travel so you can dress appropriately.

For example, in Japan, the underlying religion is Shinto which believes the body is sacred, and any modifications such as tattoos or piercings are frowned upon. While piercing is not unheard of in Japan, and ear piercing is very widespread for women and girls, lip piercings and other body modifications are still uncommon and may cause some looks. Many hotels and spas in Japan will not allow visitors to enter their public bathing areas with visible tattoos or oral piercings.

Many religious countries, like the UAE, also ban tattoos and piercings and may not allow you to enter certain sites or areas if you do not remove or cover your body piercing. Beyond traditional nose or ear piercings, body piercings are considered Haram or forbidden in Islam. It is essential to be respectful of the culture and country you are visiting, so do your research before you travel.

Airport Security

Most body piercings won’t be a problem going through metal detectors. Those detectors are designed to find large metal objects, so a tiny stud or ring shouldn’t be a problem. However, they may still show up on the x-ray machines and catch the attention of a border guard. Consider removing your piercing or wearing plastic or non-metal studs to avoid the hassle.

It is also important to remember that the customs guards can determine who can legally come into the country. If the country you are visiting has negative attitudes towards piercings or if they are illegal, a border guard could deny you entry. Even if you can enter the country, in some places, cartilage piercings could attract unwanted attention leading to further questioning. Do your research before you travel, and if you think your piercings could be an issue, it might be best to remove them.

Travelling Safely

Beyond cultural norms, it is never a good idea to travel with expensive jewelry or wear flashy jewelry that could attract attention when you travel. Many people are looking to take advantage of travelers in unfamiliar territory. A flashy upper lip or bottom lip piercing, ear piercing, or nose piercing could be just the thing to get their attention. If you want to travel and wear your piercing, consider leaving your expensive jewelry at home.

If you are interested in a lip ring, daith piercings, or any new body piercing, book an appointment with Sage Tattoo and Piercing in Ottawa, ON. Our experienced staff can talk you through the process, answer any questions you might have and help you find the perfect piece of jewelry or body art to fit your style and taste. Give us a call today and book an appointment.