Why not take advantage of your travels to trace family roots you may have been wondering about for years?
These days, many of us come from somewhere else.
Even if we grew up in one country, one or both of our parents may have been from another one. Or, we ourselves may have been born elsewhere. My father was from the Middle East, I was born in Paris, and educated in Canada and Spain, Iran and Algeria. Each time someone asks me where I'm from, I cringe.
Brought up far from any extended family, I've always wanted to know more about my origins.
As individuals we may face many unanswered questions: who we look like, why did we inherit certain characteristics, whether our ancestors were famous or notorious or involved in major historical events. Or we may want to reconnect with part of a family we never knew.
We may have (or are planning to have) children, and we'd like them to know about their heritage. Or, our own parents may have lost touch with their families and in their old age, they might want to reconnect - and we can help.
It's often called heritage travel and it's something that has often tempted me, a chance to find out more about who I am.
Most countries have genealogical societies with whom you can get in touch to explore family ancestry. Just search for genealogical society or association - and then drill down by nationality or location - something like "genealogy + German" or "genealogical association + France".
Another great place to find local contacts and information on family trees are genealogy forums, where hundreds of people post requests for information and exchange tips and leads on family ancestors. Again, your search string would be "genealogy + forum".
If language is a problem, you might consider trying to find someone to help with translation. One idea might be to contact the English department of the local university - at least someone will understand your phone call or email, but more importantly, you might find a student willing to do a bit of interpreting for you in exchange for some native English conversation or for a small fee.
Failing that there's also Apgen, the Association of Professional Genealogists, where you can hire a pro.
Potential sources of information are limitless. But if you're on the road, why not take advantage of being in the right country?
For your UK family tree, a good genealogy web site to start is the BBC History website. It is filled with useful background information, as well as practical 'how to' guides. You'll find more online resources for the UK at ancestor-search.info, which pulls together databases, libraries, genealogical associations, record offices and official sources.
If you're trying to trace family roots from the UK or Ireland, passenger lists are a good resource - most Irish immigrants came to North America by ship.
Searching for ancestors in languages other than English is a little trickier unless you speak the language, although there are an increasing number of English language genealogy sites to help you along. To trace family roots in Sweden, for example, Swedish church records are available by parish and since 1860, although you'll have to pay for extracts. In Norway, this site should be of help. The Polish Connection is a gateway to ancestors from Poland. For other countries, try either Rootsweb or Ancestry.com.