I asked Carole from Encore Journeys to share some tips about planning an unforgettable trip to ancestral homelands with your family. Encore Journeys specializes in European travel and has helped many people “go back to their roots” using their ancestral travel planning services. She provides 7 really great ideas!
Create an Unforgettable Family Reunion with Your Past
You’ve been dreaming about creating an unforgettable family reunion in your ancestral homeland. You long to walk in your grandfather’s footsteps, eat local cuisine, attend a local festival, visit the countryside and see the sights – all shared with family members. But you don’t know where to begin. Here are a few tips to get you started:
First, you will want to do a little research to find out about the area you want to visit. Get your ancestral travel planning off on the right foot by researching the area. What airport will you need to fly in and out of? When is the best time to go? What activities are available for older, younger and in-between family members? How accessible are tourist areas and local restaurants? What types of transportation will you need? What historical, cultural or folk museums are near? Is there lodging in your ancestral town for your family or do you need to stay in a close, but larger town?
2. Conduct a Survey
Once you’ve done your research, you may want to conduct a survey of your family to determine if they want to go on a trip like this. If so, what are their available time frames and activity interests? Develop a list of interests from hobbies, such as gardening and golf, to activities such as hiking and other interests such as food and wine. Then send out a survey with this list. Based on their responses, you can put together some suggestions of what activities and attractions are available in the region you plan to visit.
Discuss if there is something you want to discover that is specific to your family. Is there a church they attended, got married in, or were baptized in? Can you find the home they lived in? What about feasting on local favorites, just like your ancestors did? Make connections with your homeland in ways that you can’t on other types of trips.
4. Pick a Date
Pick a date well into the future – a year ahead is a good time frame. Give people a lot of time to plan so they can budget for the trip, get time off from work, arrange for pets and/or sitters. If you’re including children, make sure your date coincides with their school vacation times.
5. Designate a Trip Planner
Decide if you want to plan the entire reunion yourself or ask for help from family members. If you decide you want to ask for help, choose some key family members who you can work with and who have time to devote to planning. Keep a core group rather small so you can make decisions quickly and move on those decisions once made. Remember, ancestral travel planning takes time and effort – you can always ask family members to help with specific tasks.
6. Start Planning Details
Think about what you want your reunion to look like. Will you want to rent a villa, sleep in a castle or stay in hotel rooms? Do you want to take day trips from a central location or perhaps stay at different towns, villages or cities where your ancestors lived? Will you want to include activities to share or will everyone be responsible for their own entertainment?
Get them excited about the trip! Offer flexibility with activities—not everyone wants to golf or shop and that’s okay! Try to devote time to get together as a family, whether for dinners, a special day or even visiting an attraction. Remember, part of the fun is traveling together!
7. Consider Using a Travel Professional
Utilize the services of a travel professional to put together a flawless trip for your family members. At Encore Journeys, we delve into your trip ideas to create the reunion you have envisioned. Our connections throughout Europe and North America enable us to offer amazing experiences which will enhance your reunion. We use trusted travel providers with whom we have established relations so that you not only get the best value for your money, but your trip doesn’t have unwanted surprises. Our ancestral travel planning services will take the stress out of your family vacation.
In addition, we provide destination insight and arrange tours to local attractions for individual family members or your entire family. We handle every detail so you can travel worry-free. If a situation does arise during your trip, we are your travel advocates. And, of course, we’ll also give you suggestions for reunion activities!
Following these tips for planning an unforgettable trip will make your visit to ancestral homelands worry-free and more rewarding!
Encore Journeys provides customized vacation planning to Europe for individuals and groups who want to discover and connect with authentic Europe. Visit our web site www.encorejourneys.com/ancestral-travel to get your complimentary copy of our free report “Tips for Creating the Vacation of a Lifetime: A Journey to Your European Roots.”