They say travelling helps you rediscover yourself. The latest travel trend aims to do just that, just with a scientific twist of its own. This New Year get ready to trace back your roots with ancestral tourism, the newest trend in the world of wanderlusts. By Bayar Jain

Very often when planning for a vacation, one would either scan the web or even visit a tourist operator for guidance. Exhaustive notes, researching gazillion websites and blogs, and tips from other travellers soon becomes a customary precursor to any trip. The latest travel trend, however, breaks this pattern and urges you to get tests done first instead. DNA trips, or ancestral tourism, is on the rise – a travel trend that is best described as travelling to an ancestral homeland in order to connect (on some level) to one’s own familial past. Here is a quick low-down on it!

What Is It And How Is It Done?

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A while back my mom did the DNA test through ancestry so she could get to know her heritage. She was adopted and as far as she knew had met her biological siblings. Shortly after my grandpa passed this year she opened up her Ancestry inbox and had a message from Diane who through her DNA test had been notified they might be a close relative. She included her biological mothers information in the message, and to my moms (and her surprise) they were actually sisters. Diane lives in Nashville and my mom in Kodiak Alaska and didn’t know anything about each other until the message on ancestry. Flash forward to this week when my moms sister Diane flew up to Kodiak from Nashville so they could meet for the first time. It’s amazing how similar these two are, and watching them together you would never know they met for the first time 2 days ago. I’m so happy to have another wonderful aunt in my life, and so happy her and my mom found each other ❤️ @ancestry #amazing #sisters #youcantmakethisup #lovethis #ancestrydna #ancestry #womenswellness #lifeiscrazy #family • • • #Repost| 📸: @maryemarsh2006 #FamilyHistoryMonth

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During the last few decades, researchers have increasingly started trying to trace the roots of humankind. Percolation of this curiosity have started to seep into travellers’ minds. Tourists who embark on this self-exploration journey, wherever possible, try to spend time at a destination scouring through local libraries, national archives and genealogy centres. As a spillover of this trend, websites such as Ancestry, FamilySearch, and MyHeritage have sprung up. Corporates such as 23andMe and Ancestry have also taken hold of this trend with their DNA-based travel opportunities.

Ancestry, for example, has added a feature called AncestryDNA® wherein one can trace their origins, ethnicity, historicity, and geographic matches as well. Other features they offer include the option of charting your family tree, family health histories, or even connections to alive and distant relatives across numerous regions. Likewise, 23andMe also allows you to get a kit for DNA testing which can be done right in your home. Their home-based saliva tests result in ancestry, traits, health predisposition, and wellness reports – each designed to help you understand yourselves better.

Tests Done. What Next?

Once the information is out, the vacationing begins! Several travel agencies have started services for those willing to explore their roots. For instance, some travel agencies offer guided tours to aid the process. These geological adventures include professionals who would act as guides, preparing documents or helping individuals to contact their distant relatives. Not only does it help understand your history, it also allows you to explore lands through a fresh perspective. Indeed, a winning combination!

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