Firstly, ask yourself - what is my why?
Keep in mind that there is no good or bad answers; whether it is because you want to be a walking representation of something deep and meaningful, or simply because you like the way tattoos look, there is one rule - you have to own that. Whatever you are getting, make sure that it truly speaks with who you are.
Secondly, do your research.
There is so many different tattoo styles to choose from you are likely to get a little overwhelmed with all the #inspo. However, it is still good to know your options beforehand so that you come prepared, and don't feel lost when your artist starts dropping terms you have never heard before.
Even if you are getting something simple such as a symbol or a sentence, it is still good to keep the details in mind - different fonts, size, thickness of the line. Prepare a couple of different options and bring them to your consultation. That way your artist will have a better idea of what you prefer, and will also be able to advise you what would look best.
Thirdly, study the body pain chart.
Chances are you already know where to not get your tattoo for the first time, but lets go through it just to make sure you don't jump out of your chair in middle of the session with something resembling more of a dirty scratch than a tattoo. Yikes.
Generally, the least painful places to get a tattoo are the ones we most often expose; forearms, thighs, shoulders, back. The thinner the skin, the less pleasant it will get, so it is better to stay away from armpits, nipples, ribs, and elbow creases on your first time.
Fourthly, cancel your trip to the tropics.
It takes about 2 - 3 weeks for a the skin to heal (depending on how big the tattoo is). You will have to moisturise the irritated skin approximately every 2 hours with a special cream, or coconut oil, so that it can nicely peel off and heal. Do NOT use any water based lotions, as they might cause the skin to irritate more. Basically you do not want the tattoo to get in contact with anything that might cause it to inflame, aka the sun, salty water, and any kind of chemicals (soap, bath salt).
If you are currently on vacation, and you're thinking that this is the best time and place to get your first tattoo, do not worry - as long as it is in an easily covered spot, and isn't too big, you can definitely pull it off. It all pretty much comes down to common sense - take care of it until it heals, and avoid contact with anything that causes pain and/or irritation.
Fifthly, value experience and comfort above all else.
You don't want to leave the tattoo saloon feeling like you just passed by a drive through. You might be tempted to spend less, but higher prices usually indicate a better quality service. Especially in case of your first tattoo it is important that the whole experience is something you look back at with a smile on; you should be comfortable with not only the tattoo artist, but all of the people at the studio - both the clientele & the staff. Ask around, visit places, check out social media platforms. You can earn the money back, but experience stays forever.
Most of all, relax. Yes, tattoo is something that you will carry on you for the rest of your life, but it isn't the end of the world. Make sure you are comfortable with your choice; don't let anybody pressure you into it, nor shame you for getting it. It is your way of expressing who you are, and if people judge you for the way in which you choose to do it, why would you surround yourself with such people in the first place?