DNA technology is increasingly changing the way we view the world, and now it may be changing travel. If you’ve ever considered taking a DNA test to uncover your heritage, or have gone down a records rabbit hole to find your ancestors, you can now physically follow your roots to the far-off destinations they’ll point you to.
The first group tours of their kind, these genealogy itineraries by Ancestry.com and Go Ahead will be offered for Ireland, Italy, and Germany in 2018 to start. Ancestry.com’s genealogists will lead the personal history charge, which is based on an AncestryDNA kit travelers take before departure.
How Go Ahead Uses AncestryDNA
The tour’s genealogist will discuss travelers’ DNA results with them before the trip, and can assist in building a family tree to use on the tour. During this consultation, travelers will have the option to add on site or home visits to specific villages or towns their ancestry searches lead them to—for an added price. “If you’re interested in an ancestral home visit, ask about organizing one during your pre-trip family history review,” Go Ahead notes.
Go Ahead’s local directors will also be on the journey to guide the itinerary and provide expert insight about the destination. Group sizes for these tours are limited to 15-28 travelers total.
Not of Irish, German, or Italian descent? Go Ahead says additional destinations will be announced early next year, with first departures slated for 2019.
Smaller tour operators with a focus on genealogy have been on the rise in recent years, but this seems to be the first large family of tour offerings relying heavily on expert genealogists—and ones from the largest for-profit genealogy company in the world, no less.
It remains to be seen if travelers will appreciate this slightly pricier opportunity to follow their roots to a physical place, or if (as many testy travelers are wont to do) they’ll be disappointed by their own immense expectations. Uncovering centuries of personal family history can be difficult to accomplish. But perhaps no one knows better than an AncestryProGenealogist that these things are complicated, but worth trying.
“[Personal genealogy] certainly means different things to different people,” said Kyle Betit, Senior Genealogist and Travel Program Manager at AncestryProGenealogists. “We believe that these trips will give people the opportunity to trace their roots on a deeper level and maybe even discover something new or exciting about their own ancestors.”
That “maybe” is probably key.
Would you travel through your family history with a genealogist? Comment below.
More from SmarterTravel:
- 10 New UNESCO World Heritage Sites to Add to Your Bucket List
- 10 Fun Family Vacations for Multigenerational Travelers
- What It’s Like to Use a DNA Test Kit to Travel Through Your Family Tree