Jul 6, 2022 - Health + Traits

Where You Should Travel This Summer, Based on Your Genetics

summer travel based on your genetics

Ah, summer vacation. A chance to set your status to “out of office,” grab that book you’ve been meaning to finish, and set off on a new adventure.

But how – and where – should you spend your precious days off? To help you finalize your summer travel plans, we’ve compiled a list of destinations influenced by your DNA and backed by 23andMe research.

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast with a fear of heights or a beach lover who’s genetically predisposed to get a lot of mosquito bites, we have a destination that may pair well with your genes.

 Summer Sans Bite

Summer marks the return of many simple pleasures – barbecues, beach trips, long days, warm nights, and time outside. But it also marks the return of a buzzing menace: the mosquito.

If you seem to have more itchy red welts on your ankles than the people around you, your DNA may play a role. 23andMe researchers found 285 genetic variants associated with mosquito bite frequency, size, and itchiness. These markers and other non-genetic factors such as birth sex may explain why mosquitoes find some people so attractive.

For the mosquito magnets among us, we recommend heading north to an urban location with cooler temperatures like Seattle, Washington. Seattle’s temperate climate helps keep mosquito populations in check because there is less heat, humidity, and standing water that they need to survive and reproduce. With its lively art and food scene and proximity to Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, Seattle is buzzing in all the right ways.

Finding Balance

For those who suffer from motion sickness, the mere thought of a summer road trip may trigger a desire to stock up on motion sickness relief medicine.

Motion sickness may happen when there’s sensory conflict, or a mismatch between what your body feels is happening and what your eyes see. And genetics factor in, too. 23andMe researchers pinpointed 413 genetic variants that influence susceptibility to motion sickness. They also saw an association between motion sickness and other conditions like migraines, morning sickness, and vertigo, which confirmed similar observations from previous researchers.

So this summer, ditch the car, skip the open road, and head to one of America’s most walkable metropolises: New York City. It’s a pedestrian’s paradise – museum exhibitions, Broadway shows, restaurants, lively neighborhoods, and shopping that can be easily reached on foot. No medication required.

Don’t Look Down

Does a precipice cause your heart to race? Does a mountain vista make your knees tremble?

A fear of heights is very common, affecting as many as one in three people.

The distress may stem from a disruption in optical input and spatial orientation. While standing upright, the brain uses visual cues from surrounding objects to maintain balance. But this process can become muddled when standing at a high elevation relative to your surroundings.

There’s also a genetic component at play. Scientists at 23andMe used statistical models and data from consented research participants to identify 392 genetic markers associated with a fear of heights.

Biscayne National Park offers an alternative to the high elevations and heart-stopping views that we usually associate with the National Park system. Biscayne is located off the southeast coast of Florida, the country’s flattest state, and features four different ecosystems that hover close to sea level. The park offers plenty of water activities and several low-elevation trails that provide an awe-inspiring view of mangrove trees, sand bars, and turquoise water without that woozy, faint feeling.

Pack your bags; your DNA-tailored adventure awaits!

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