Whether it’s tracing your ancestor’s roots or those of your adopted children, there are plenty of more enriching ways than lounging around on a beach to spend that precious two weeks of vacation time this year. Heritage trips offer a chance for greater perspective on the cultures that made us who we are, and a special chance to make memories with several generations at once.
Go Ahead Tours spotlights several journeys in Italy, Ireland and Germany, with special AncestryDNA kits and special pre-trip family history reviews with AncestryPro genealogists. Along with tour directors, genealogists join your small group. On Highlights of the Emerald Isle, your genealogist and a historian from Cobh Heritage Centre will lead a tour of the museum and lend perspective on Irish emigration over the past 150 years. On Hamburg to Munich, you’ll take a guided tour of the BallinStadt Emigration Museum to learn about German genealogy at the family research center.
Spector Travel of Boston’s Roots and Culture tour has more than two decades of experience connecting adventurers with their brethren in Africa. With a focus on both ancestry and culture, primarily in Ghana and Senegal—which feature the roots of the slave trade and the Goree Island Slave House & Museum, respectively—there are plenty of predetermined programs, or you can make a customized tour of your own.
Holt International specializes in heritage tours for adoptees traveling by themselves, or with their families and as young as 10 years old. Asia (China, Korea and Mongolia primarily) is the main focus, and tours arranged through this non-profit adoption agency are open to all even if families did not originally go through Holt. In Korea, for instance, tour highlights include visiting one’s birth city or orphanage; adoptees can review their adoption files with a social worker, and ages 19 and above can initiate a birth family search, in addition to enjoying all of the cultural highlights of their homeland. Even better? All-inclusive packages include airfare and most meals.
Enjoy a life of leisure with insightful and reflective historical context — whether Jewish or not — on a Uniworld Remarkable Rhine river cruise, with several opportunities to explore the roots of one of the oldest religions on earth in The Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland. The tour visits Holocaust memorials, Jewish museums and World War II sites, and includes some lesser-renowned features like cruise directors explaining the legacy of the Rothschild family and telling the story of the founder of the Zionist movement.
In Ireland, gorgeous green scenery at the Ring of Kerry and Cliffs of Moher await, and there’s a bit of the craic (fun) at pubs (where kids are welcome and there’s toe-tapping music almost every night), and castles far beyond Disney. If your budget is more on the princely side, operators like Brown + Hudson curate genealogy-focused itineraries with trained researchers, who then incorporate in specific details for counties of origin and interests (presenters from Ireland’s Genealogy Roadshow TV series have even lent a hand). Tours start at $25,000. Ireland-based Adams & Butler provide on-staff genealogical consultations (starting at $956) who also coordinate entire itineraries. Meath-based My Ireland Family Heritage offers specialized lower rates depending on the package selected: one day ancestral tours, a “platinum” genealogy touring package and a “silver” package that means they do the family research and you save some green by coordinating your own tour.