Human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) studies have entered a new phase since the blossoming of complete genome analyses. Sequencing complete mtDNAs is more expensive and more labour intensive than restriction analysis or simply sequencing the control region of the molecule. But the efforts are paying off, as the phylogenetic resolution of the mtDNA tree has been greatly improved, and, in turn, phylogeographic interpretations can be given correspondingly greater precision in terms of the timing and direction of human dispersals. Therefore, despite mtDNA being only a fraction of our total genome, the deciphering of its evolution is profoundly changing our perception about how modern humans spread across our planet. Here we illustrate the phylogeographic approach with two case studies: the initial dispersal out of Africa, and the colonization of Europe.