‘How a DNA test helped me plot my family tree and plan my future travels’

We feature travel comparison site Momondo for its quirky flight data which tells you when it’s cheapest to fly to selected destinations, and how far ahead you should book to bag the cheapest ticket. It’s undoubtedly MoneySaving, no question.

So when I met with Momondo a while ago to hear what it was up to, I was surprised to learn about its latest project, ‘The DNA Journey’.

As part of a study Momondo had commissioned to show the correlation between trust and travel, it wanted to demonstrate that we’re not always from the places we think we are. To prove it, Momondo took DNA samples from a group of people around the world.

Now, this isn’t MoneySaving. But it is inspirational. It’s like a corporate Who Do You Think You Are?, the TV show that takes a celebrity on a journey through their family history, town by town, country by country.

Travel inspiration can be found anywhere and as a very keen traveller, I’m always looking for new places to add to the pinboard map on my living room wall.

So when Momondo offered me the chance to get involved, I was too intrigued to refuse. I know I have a diverse family; I just didn’t really know how diverse it would be.

In fact, I discovered my DNA spans three continents and over 10 countries, with splashes of others. Astounding. And all that from a saliva sample (that sounded far more graceful than ‘spitting in a tube’…), which you send off to a lab, and after a few weeks, get a full breakdown of your DNA ethnicity profile sent back via email or an app.

But what do you do with this data? Well, for some it means researching the background to the countries that come up. Who comes from there and how am I related to them? Thanks to the internet, this is far easier than you think – sites such as Ancestry, Genes Reunited and FindMyPast all offer services to make it easier.

But for me, I’m fortunate to have a family that’s covered most of the tree already. I’m using my DNA results as a must for my travel planning. The next time I’m involved in a discussion of where to go on a weekend away or a long holiday further afield, I only have to pull up my results to be given a number of suitable places.

And for most, once a destination is chosen, that’s the hard part done when it comes to a holiday, particularly if you’re as indecisive as I am. I know that when it comes to choosing a hotel or flights, comparing costs is key.

Plus, I love short-lived sale sites for the higher-end deals, especially as a firm believer that travel isn’t about finding the cheapest holiday, it’s about finding what you want for the cheapest price. Our Cheap Flights and Cheap Hotels guides have plenty more cost-cutting tips to help.

And if you’re interested in what Momondo found in its study, check out its website.

Have any of you tried a DNA test? What are your thoughts? (NB: I’m aware of the pitfalls with the accuracy of the data, but I know mine is mostly correct through other research.)