Life is in the detail

For a different (and crowd free) take on a classic view – cross the Yamuna River at dusk to see the Taj Mahal glowing pink and reflected in the river.

Tom - Original Traveller

Tom Barber

Original Travel Expert

I have extensive travel experience throughout Middle East, Africa, Caribbean, The Far East and Europe.

My travels

Travel Things I Want To Do Before I Die

  • Sudan. More pyramids than northerly neighbour Egypt and a miniscule fraction of the visitor numbers.
  • California for sheer diversity of special things to see and do.
  • Sao Tome & Principe, because it just sounds magical and unspoilt.

Best Moments

  • Diving Neptune's Arm off the coast of Mozambique and generally considered the best dive in the world. It didn't disappoint and we were surrounded by white tip reef sharks and groupers the size of Minis.

Weirdest Travel Moment

  • Chicken hearts in Brazil. Bleeurch.

Explore my blog posts

Girl on a bike

Bring Back Spontaneity: Make an 'Impulse Bye'

Remember spontaneity? The thrill of dropping everything to go somewhere or do something on a whim was half the fun. Sadly, for most of us as we've grown older and increasingly weighed down with responsibilities, spontaneity has tended to take ever more of a back seat. Now, in the era of…

Why a Gulet Cruise in Turkey Might Be The Most Fun Holiday You Ever Have

There are a few holiday types that deserve 'classic' status: the family ski week in the Alps, the road trip, the African safari and the sexy city break to name but four, but I'd like to add another one in to the mix - a week long gulet cruise in Turkey.

take my hand rome

A Love Letter to Europe: The Best Places to Visit Closer to Home

It's a staple storyline from hundreds of Hollywood movies: our hero(ine) leaves their small hometown and has many adventures and romantic trysts in the wider world before the epiphany that the boy/girl next door back home was the love of their life all along. That's a rather convoluted…

Playing a drum

Music to Move You

We talk a lot about our additional services. After all, they are one of the key things that sets us apart from the competition, and even more important in the new normal. But our regional playlists are one of the services we don't often bang the drum (excuse the pun) about.

hiker chamonix france

Travel Less, Travel Better

Yes, you read that right; this is actually a travel company suggesting we might travel less. Let me explain. As we gradually emerge, blinking, into the post-lockdown light, it's only natural that we'll be wary of travel for a while. Airports are likely to be more difficult places to…

Girl in car

Retro Road Trips: Introducing the Family to the Classic European Driving Holiday

Do you remember the Peugeot 505 Familiale estate car? I'm showing my age here, but back in the early 80s it was the go-to ride for big families thanks to the novel idea (well, in a car anyway) of a fold-up third row of seats in the otherwise cavernous boot. Some of my fondest holiday…

Man on mountain

Hello There, 2021...

The situation surrounding 'air bridges' and quarantine* remains pretty unclear at the moment, meaning short-term travel is still very much up in the air (excuse the pun). Suffice to say, when the rules do change we've got some clever itinerary ideas up our sleeves. Looking further ahead, we…

Man on archway

The Future of Travel

What seems like a lifetime ago (also known as: January) we published our annual brochure, 2020 Vision, filled with the travel trends we believed would emerge in the next 12 months. Given what's happened since, it's fair to say that some of those predictions (China as a hot destination for…

Virtual tourism

The Virtues of Virtual Tourism

Some in the travel industry fear the emergence of virtual tourism; we're not in that camp. We know that seeing somewhere on a screen - even if you are able to turn your head or move your mouse to see more - is no substitute for the real thing. That said, virtual tours are a great teaser for…

Elephant eating

The Two-Metre Rule

Second guessing the new parameters for life post-lockdown has become something of a national obsession. But whatever the next changes will be, there's one regulation that we just know will stay in place - the two-metre social distancing rule. Now, depending on your height you could just…

Painting

Lockdown Learning

As the rules around the lockdown begin to loosen, this is an apt moment to revisit all the things you determined to learn during your time at home… and never quite got around to. No more excuses, people! In the near future we'll all be back at work, and then, one day soon, we'll be exploring…

The Original Travel Quiz: Week 2

With no-one able to travel for the time being, the Original Travel team are like world class athletes stuck at home unable to compete - all our hard-won travel expertise is going to seed. As we see it, there are two solutions. First: the slow but steadily rising number of enquiries we're…

man daughter eating

The Home Holiday Challenge

As we enter the final furlong of this grand national experiment in homeschooling, there's a dawning realisation among parents that another set of key workers deserve our utmost gratitude - teachers. Part psychologists, part mentors, part crowd control, part inspirators and all heroes,…

The Inaugural Original Travel Quiz

Picture the scene. It's the Original Travel office Christmas party, and several members of the team break into an impromptu round of the 'Guess the Three-Letter Airport Code' game. One of the interns is overheard to say: 'Wow, you lot really are travel nerds.' Thank you, Fenella - there is…

Our Top Ten Reconnect Experiences

Baking bread, whittling wood, fermenting vegetables, sewing our own clothes, growing a herb garden… in our modern and convenience-focussed lives, there is something infinitely satisfying about getting back to basics and learning the skills that our ancestors used in their everyday lives.…

typewriter

Best Travel Writing: An Original Traveller's Top Picks

So here we all are, literally and metaphorically grounded. One day soon, we'll be off exploring our wonderful world again, but for now it seems like an opportune moment to indulge in the next best thing to travel - reading the finest works by the best travel writers. As both a journalist and…

Thank You Listing

Thank You, Merci, Danke, Gracias...

Travel isn't just about places; it's about people. Our amazing staff, our Concierges, our longstanding suppliers and partners in destinations around the world and, of course, our loyal clients. In this newsletter we want to focus on our clients particularly. We always knew they were a classy…

Director's Message

A Note from the Directors

We, the Directors of Original Travel, want to update clients on our thinking during the coronavirus situation. It's a tough time for everyone, and as you can imagine it's particularly challenging for the travel industry. That said, we and our network of partners around the world are a pretty…

Pamukkale Turkey Listing Image

Long Haul Experience, Short Haul Logistics: Alternative Europe

Don't worry. This isn't a blog about the dry as dust subject of European equivalence that was a hot topic during the first round of Brexit negotiations. We're talking about something far, FAR more interesting: namely the fact that you don't need to fly to the ends of the Earth to appreciate…

#AtYourService Partner Brand Prizes - Terms and Conditions

By entering this competition; entrants agree to be bound by these rules. The "Main Prize" is a holiday for two with Original Travel worth £10,000 which will be organised by one of our specialist travel experts. Please see here for these Terms and Conditions. The below are all the Terms and…

#AtYourService Original Travel Holiday Prize - Terms and Conditions

By entering this competition; entrants agree to be bound by these rules.

Top Six Things to do in Egypt

From the pyramids in Cairo to the underwater wonders of the Red Sea, Egypt is a short haul shoo-in.

Singapore Microadventure Listing Image

Our Top Destinations for a Microadventure

Here's the bottom line: we work hard, we're busy, and we want to spend our free time doing something meaningful. Long and leisurely holidays exploring a destination are all well and good, but there's a lot to be said about a bite-sized trip that's chock full of experiences from start to…

Waterfalls in Iceland

Destination Inspiration for Adventure Holidays in 2020

Does the idea of lying on a beach reading a book fill you with horror? If so, read on for four more adventurous alternatives to a 'fly and flop' holiday.

Meet the rest of the team

We’re seasoned travellers who combine our personal insights and exceptional knowledge to create memorable trips and experiences.

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