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Straight to the Heart: Heritage Travel

What could be better than spending the holidays in the places where your own family’s history and traditions began? Imagine going straight to the origins of your favorite holiday activities and practicing them as they have been practiced for generations.  Traditions are what you make of them. Given the cultural makeup of my family, our holidays tend to be fairly open-ended. For us, we are just happy to get together as we are able, and we are quite likely to take a vigorous seven-mile mountain hike and then eat enchiladas while listening to classic blues. It’s not a bad way to go, and to me, it feels the most like home, but as I go through the world incorporating new and dear friends and loved ones into my life, I like to adopt other people’s traditions, too. Whether you are spending the holidays in Europe exploring your own family history, participating in your favorite activities, or attempting to make your own unique festivities, a rental car allows you the ability to get around with ease. Here are some reasons why you should consider investing in family heritage travel this year:

The Importance of Family Heritage Travel

Snowy Edinburgh Castle

A light dusting of snow in Edinburgh makes for gorgeous heritage exploration!

Family Heritage
Walk in the footsteps of your ancestors when you travel to the town of your family roots. With a little bit of genealogical research and the help of a reliable rental car equipped with a fully loaded GPS, you can find yourself picnicking with your children beneath the tree where your great-grandfather first kissed your great-grandmother. Get a real sense of your own personal history when you create your own itinerary, and delve further into stories and research. You can enjoy traditional foods, immerse yourself in the language, or purchase handicrafts made with care by your own distant relatives. Perhaps you’ll be proud to return home from Scotland with your own clan’s unique tartan or with a new family recipe or story from a gracious relative. Whoever you are, or wherever you travel, your time among family does nothing but enrich your own life narrative.

Seeking Traditions
You may find traditional Yuletide cheer in a number of gorgeous destinations, from solemn keeps in Ireland to quaint Alpine villages of Switzerland. Choose your favorite tradition and then dive into it when you travel to its place of origin. Those who enjoy hot mulled cider and folk music should try wassailing in southern England, easily reached after you pick up your rental car at London’s Heathrow Airport. With a comfortable two-hour drive into rolling orchards around Gloucester, you can meet the wassail queen and awaken the trees for next year’s harvest with jolly songs and bonfires. Seeking a darker form of merriment? With a trip to Austria, you will come face to face with Krampus, the Christmas demon who punishes and occasionally devours children who have misbehaved.

There may be a place on Earth where more festivities and rituals originate than Rome, but I would be hard pressed to name it. A holiday visit to The Eternal City will offer a range of possibilities from exciting pageantry to solemn reflection. Bright lights adorn the city, illuminating the classical monuments in whimsical ways that are unique to the time of year. Seasonal goodies and concerts abound, and hundreds of artistic nativities are presented at an annual festival. Many thousands of people gather in St. Peter’s Square on Christmas Day for a special blessing from the city’s most famous resident, the Pope, but there are seasonal worship opportunities available for almost anyone, of any creed, in the numerous gorgeous churches, mosques and synagogues of the city. With such a rich history and heritage, exploring Italy by rental car may put you right on the road to discovering something incredible about your ties to Rome.

Thwarting Tradition
When you learn more about your own family’s history and about the people who shaped the world and culture that you now live, you start to view heritage as dynamic. The way you live, the things you build, and the actions you take will someday be inherited as someone else’s heritage. This offers you the chance to incorporate anything you feel can build and align your family’s identity. When you incorporate this philosophy into your travel planning, your options become unlimited. Your ancestors may not have spent their wintertime holidays kayaking in New Zealand, but your progeny may incorporate such wonderment and appreciation for the natural world into their own yearly festivities.

With over 8,000 convenient pick-up locations, Auto Europe can get you on the road toward discovering your heritage and favorite traditions. We guarantee the industry’s best rates on rental cars and award-winning service. With freedom from cumbersome and cramped public transportation, you can easily explore the traditions and festivities of your favorite destinations. To make your vacation your own, call us today at 1-888-223-5555, or easily book your car rental online with our three-step booking engine!

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