Since DNA testing kits arrived on the market, I have often wondered what it would be like to find out where I'm from beyond the little I know that starts in Alabama as a result of the slave trade. I hear my parents talk about what they know about our lineage beyond Alabama, but nothing is official. An Airbnb survey found that more than 50% of Americans have traveled to at least one country of their origin, which lets me know I'm not the only person with a heritage trip on their mind.
I for one imagine walking the streets of Africa and potentially seeing someone that shares my features.
This bucket list item might be easier to attain since Airbnb and 23andMe have partnered. What does the partnership mean? Well, simply put, when your DNA results arrive in a three to five week timeframe, you'll also get suggestions on homes you can rent through Airbnb in the same countries as your ancestors. Pretty convenient and little creepy, right?
Companies like Airbnb, 23andMe, and Ancestry (who already offers tours that focus on your roots in European countries) are looking to capitalize on the uptick in heritage travel, which is projected to be the biggest travel trend of 2019. Airbnb says that there has been a 500 percent increase in travelers using their service to trace their roots since 2014. With 78 percent of these trips taken in pairs or solo which the home-sharing company suggests means "these are introspective journeys or an important moment to share with a significant other."
Since DNA services like 23andMe and Ancestry are not always the most accurate for those of us of African descent, a black-owned service like African Ancestry can make an ideal travel guide as their test goes beyond telling us what continent we're from but can give details on your origin African Tribe(s).
Thanks to the Internet, we use these resources to plan our own trips to our home countries with the help of Airbnb and 23and Me's dedicated section housing pages that will allow you to plan your heritage travel adventure "end-to-end". No matter how you decide to explore your heritage, there are a wealth of options out there that will bring us closer to our history and uniqueness while fueling our travel dreams.
Check out the slideshow below of the top DNA travel destinations (outside of the US and Canada) according to Airbnb and 23andMe:
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