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Have you ever wondered about your family heritage? If so, you’re not alone. Studies show that people are intrinsically interested in their cultural roots and ancestral backgrounds, which may speak to the rise of online genealogy services providing people simple, easily accessible methods to discover their roots. While knowing your history is interesting, experiencing it can be truly remarkable.
This kind of trip, also known as ‘heritage travel,’ has become a billion-dollar industry and involves purposeful excursions to visit places where one has genealogical or cultural roots. Examples of heritage travel can span from visiting historic battlefields where ancestors fought to sampling traditional cuisines in your country of origin. Travelers are taking advantage of heritage treks to celebrate their lineages, learn about themselves and their families and to share stories with their younger generations. Visiting places with strong cultural significance is not only a way to explore exciting new destinations, but to add meaningful purpose to an otherwise ‘just-for-fun’ trip.
Tips for Heritage Travel
When it comes to heritage travel, planning is key. Here are some tips to consider when planning a heritage-based trip:
Do your homework. To embark on a heritage vacation, you’ll first need to know a little (or a lot!) about your roots. A great place to begin your research is Ancestry, which hosts the world’s largest online collection of family history records (20+ billion!) dating back to the 13th century. Ancestry adds an average of two million records to its website each day, contributing to more than 100 million family trees.
Involve your family. If not everyone in your family can make the trip, you can still involve them in your planning. They might be interested to learn about your shared family history or act as a valuable resource, offering suggestions on places to visit and things to see. Family members might know things like what neighborhoods your ancestors resided in, or what they did for a living, which could spark ideas on things to do if trying to retrace their footsteps. For the trip itself, make sure to plan a mix of activities that will keep family members of all ages engaged (such as museum visits or guided tours).
Book ahead. It’s important to book your travel well ahead of time to ensure that the attractions you’re interested in are open and available during your trip, especially when visiting historic sites, archives or repositories. Timing is also important to consider when trying to land deals on transportation and accommodations.