One of the appealing aspects of retirement for many is the ability to travel more. With the kids grown and out of the house and no work schedules to keep, retirees take advantage of the freedom to see places they’ve only dreamed about. A growing segment in the travel industry are those who are interested in genealogical travel.

    What is Genealogical Tourism?

    This segment chooses locations for vacations with significance to the past. It may be a place where they lived as young children or a city or country from which their ancestors emigrated. The goal in this type of travel is to see the places and “walk the paths” where previous family members have gone.
    While any location can be the destination for people aiming to trace their roots, the most popular locations are those that have seen a mass emigration at some period in history. For instance, Ireland is a well-known location for this type of travel, as is many other western European countries.
    Anyone can enjoy a genealogical vacation, but baby boomers and the senior population have seen the biggest increase in this market. For some, it’s a chance to reminisce about their past or relive stories they heard as young children. For others, it’s an opportunity to learn more about who they are and where they came from.

    Some travelers seek to find out more about their heritage on these trips and will spend time looking up old records and visiting cemeteries and other locations to provide answers. Other travelers are more focused on experiencing the land of their ancestors. They may walk along the old paths or enjoy a pastry at the bakery that has been around for generations.

    Tips for Planning a Genealogical Vacation

    Planning for a trip of this nature begins long before boarding the plane. Besides knowing where the person wants to go, you may want to help them do research on specific locations in the area. Find out where the senior wants to visit and help them locate the exact address. For example, the person may want to stop at a cemetery where ancestors are buried. Make sure you know if there is a road leading to the cemetery or if it will require walking to reach the location.
    Find local historians in the places on the list to visit. They will be invaluable sources of information to help you find specific places and to provide a feel for the place back when the ancestors lived there. Ask them about other resources to help in your research.

    Many hotels have added genealogists to their staff to assist guests during their visits. Find out about this resource and utilize it to help you learn more information or to provide a more authentic experience for the senior.

    Consider the senior’s health and physical capabilities. A person with limited mobility can still enjoy the adventures of a genealogical trip, but they may be limited on where they can travel and how much walking can be done in a day. Be careful to avoid over-planning in the excitement of learning about their heritage.
    Choose a travel company familiar with genealogical tourism. The agents will be better equipped to help you plan the trip and select lodging close to where you want to be. Give them as much information as possible so they can organize the trip based on the senior’s personal goals.

    Whether from the fast-paced society we live in today or as one of the effects of aging, more people are becoming interested in tracing their heritage and seeing where and how their ancestors lived. Genealogical vacations enable seniors to enjoy the experience in a fun way!

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