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Traveling to discover heritage or ancestry is definitely not a new thing, but companies such as 23andMe and Ancestry.com, which provide DNA testing and results that make it easy for people to trace their background, are inspiring more people to explore new places based on the information they find. (Chris Erksine/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Are DNA kits giving way to a new travel trend?

Traveling to discover heritage or ancestry is definitely not a new thing, but companies such as 23andMe and Ancestry. com, which provide DNA testing and results that make it easy for people to trace their background, are inspiring more people to explore new places based on the information they find.

Authentic Vacations has noticed a major upswing in demand for its custom genealogy tours. In fact, the tour operator has seen a 100 percent increase in revenue contributed to these types of ancestry tours in only one year as people increasingly want to travel to the countries of their newfound heritage.

Ancestry travel is quickly fulfilling the demands of these individuals looking to discover their roots, with Ireland and Scotland some of the most requested destinations. Authentic makes it easy to craft heritage trips and provides completely customized journeys.

“We are specialists in local destinations and have insider knowledge which sometimes comes in handy when we’re customizing an ancestry tour,” said Leslie Intriago, head of Digital Marketing & MarTech for Authentic Vacations.

“We collect (the clients) information, note where their ancestors are from and then start researching. Sometimes, clients will send us their DNA test results and we will work off of that.”

The tour operator provides great breadth in its offerings for both Ireland and Scotland — as well as around Europe and in Australia and New Zealand. Travelers can take advantage of the tour operator’s expertise and its roster of curated travel packages that can be tailored to individual needs, ensuring that travelers have access to the towns and villages most important to their heritage journey.

Ancestry research can be done ahead of planning a trip, but the genealogical journey doesn’t stop there. While on the road, Authentic Vacations can provide access to more in-depth discovery. More intensive ancestry research can be done in each destination with local genealogists who can fill in the many blanks. Sometimes it is even possible to connect travelers with local relatives.

In fact, one Ireland specialist noted that, through a local expert, a client was able to connect with a distant cousin. Another time, an Ireland expert with a friend who works at Trinity College met a client and brought them in to study their ancestor’s academic records.

“We really understand how meaningful these ancestry tours are to people and really do our best to pull out all the steps to make it a memorable experience,” said Intriago.

In Ireland, one of the highlights for travelers tracing their ancestry is to visit the Irish Emigration Museum in Dublin. Travelers can also meet with in-house historians at the Irish Family History Museum.

Ancestry journeys also focus on the history and the local color of the destinations that clients are visiting.

Oftentimes, local museums and galleries are incorporated into the itinerary to give travelers the true feeling of their roots.

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