Genealogy Road Trip Tip 3: Set your travel dates

Tip 3: Set your travel dates. Part of “Genealogy Road Trip Tips: Take Your Loved Ones With You” — 30 posts in 30 days for NaBloPoMo 2016.

Mark your calendar. Once you have selected your destination, and your travel partner is on board, it’s time to get out the calendar and start circling possible dates for your genealogy road trip. By: Dafne Cholet

Now that you’ve selected your destination, and your travel partner is on board, it’s time to get out the calendar and start circling possible dates for your genealogy road trip.

Easy, right? Well, not necessarily. Here are some things to thinks about when scheduling your genealogy road trip.

What dates work best for you and your travel partner? Whether it’s a local, weekend trip or a longer journey to a distant destination, start scheduling your genealogy road trip by blocking out a few possible time frames with your travel partner — and far enough ahead to take advantage of savings on airfares and accommodations or to arrange vacation time from work.

When are records repositories open at your destination? You don’t want to arrive at your family history research location and find out the offices or archives you need to visit are closed because of a holiday or special summer hours. Or walk into a town office looking for vital records on the opening day for fishing license applications. (Yep, that once happened to me!)

What will the weather be like on your target dates? Spring and summer are nice times for genealogy road trips in some areas, but if your ancestors hale from south Florida or San Diego or sunny climes abroad, you might think about a winter trip to those destinations. Also consider scheduling around mosquitoes, black flies and other seasonal wildlife that could cut short outdoor activities like visiting an ancestral cemetery, home or school.

When is the tourist season at your destination? Traveling off-season can be cost effective and it will probably be easier to get around without the crowds of sightseers. Plus you are more likely to experience typical day-to-day life at your family history destination.

Will your road trip happen during a special event? Sometimes an event will set your dates for you. Perhaps your destination features an annual festival or parade, a centennial event or similar commemorative gathering. Check the location’s events calendar and consider planning your visit to coincide with a special event — one your ancestors may have attended or participated in decades or centuries before.

Setting your travel dates is a balancing act, but one that sets the stage for a productive genealogy road trip for you and your loved ones. Once you know when you’re going, you can begin your pre-trip preparations with your target date as the deadline.

Next up Tip 4: Call ahead

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