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

Image of Tom Barber

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

inle lake fisherman myanmar

Why So Slow, UNESCO?

The last few weeks have been something of an emotional rollercoaster, haven't they? There was the absolute madness of the Cricket World Cup final, the devastation of honorary Brit Roger Federer losing in the Wimbledon final and, of course the annual updates to the UNESCO World Heritage…

Gothenburg City Canal

Top Seven Things to Do in Sweden

Explore the rest of what makes the west (of Sweden) the best, or hop across to the glorious capital Stockholm.

Waterberg safari

The Best Family Holiday Ever: Part 2

Part one of my tales from our family holiday in South Africa took us from Cape Town to the Winelands, while in part two we head on up the coast along the Garden Route and then north to the Waterberg for a family safari…

family holiday south africa header

The Best Family Holiday Ever: Part 1

If you haven't seen our latest Family Brochure yet, I'd like to think it's the best we've ever produced, and that's including two that won the illustrious Guardian/Observer Best Brochure of the Year award. The reason? We've meticulously laid out the best family travel destinations (some…

Atacama Desert

Where to Go for Outdoor Living

If you like your country big then this fab foursome are well worth exploring. Read on to find out how they put the 'great' in The Great Outdoors.

Pimp My Ride

Some roads demand to be driven, so a bog standard hire car just won't cut it. Add some horsepower to your holiday with these upgrades...

camels by the pyramids

Connecting with Different Cultures Through Travel

Despite the dangerously polarising effect of social media and unscrupulous politicians, we all share the same hopes and fears, the same fundamental human condition, and there's no better way to remind yourself of these universal truths than through travel. Yes, the clothing, customs, cuisine…

The Greatest Road Trip Panoramic Pit Stops

You're here for the freedom of the open road, but do stop to take in the sheer magnificence of your surroundings...

Elephants near the Zambezi River

Top Seven Things to do in Zambia

Whether you've got a niche wildlife interest or a need for some authentic cultural immersion, Zambia has got you covered...

Are We Nearly There Yet?

Keep the use of that dreaded phrase to a minimum with these road tested ruses...

Destination Inspiration for Slow Travel

The frenetic pace of modern life is a common complaint, but since the world shows no signs of stopping so we can get off, we need a few less radical solutions. Enter: the concept of slow travel; an opportunity to take your foot off the gas and enjoy the world around you at a gentler pace...

couple on a road trip

Avoiding Carguments

Apparently a quarter of all arguments occur in the car. Here's a road map to avoiding traffic-related tiffs...

hotel doorman

The Nine Big Hotel No-Nos

When we're putting together your trip, choosing the perfect hotel is one of the key conversations. The hotels, camps and lodges we work with are - naturally - beyond reproach, but the team here at Original Travel have had to kiss a whole host of hotel frogs to come up with our portfolio of…

cheetas

The Conservation Conversation

At Original Travel we spend a lot of time discussing our part in the great sustainability and tourism debate. Here's a quick summary of our current thinking…

Pintxo and beer

Cultural spots in San Sebastián

Kaixo (hello in Basque) and welcome to San Sebastian, or Donostia as it's known locally. The city is the capital of Spain's brilliant and ever so slightly batty Basque region. Here's all you need to know about this peaceful and beautiful city, with its miniature Rio de Janeiro vibe, complete…

Bordeaux, France

Wine Tasting in Bordeaux

We love a city that's recovered its mojo, and Bordeaux has most certainly done so. The grand 18th-century boulevards and buildings - paid for by the proceeds of the wine industry - spent decades down at heel until a recent sense of urban renewal lured young entrepreneurs back. Now, with the…

San Francisco

Best Experiences in San Francisco

At first glance Frisco is a city without a clear narrative, swinging from late 19th Century Gold Rush greed to flowers in your hair hippie free love and now home to techpreneurs from Twitter to Instagram. What's the common theme? An over-riding sense of what might be possible when groups of…

mexico city ancient ruins

The Best of Mexico City

¡Bienvenido a Mexico City! Formerly known as DF (distrito federal) for the past two centuries, Mexico's capital changed its official name last year and is now known as Ciudad de Mexico (CDMX). Once centre of the Aztec Empire, latter day CDMX (catchier than one-time Tenochtitlan) sits gritty…

young girl looking for wildlife

Travelling with Tweens

The world is their oyster... just don't try making them eat one. Follow these few simple ground rules and these could just be the happiest holidays you ever have...

taking a selfie in Rome

Europe for Youths

Elsewhere in our blog we've talked about Travelling with Teenagers, given Teen to Teen Advice as well as Parental Advice on family holidays all around the far flung corners of our glorious globe. Now that every hidden nook and secret cranny is now in play with teens in tow, let's not forget…

My First... Cultural Adventure: Rome

Rome might just be our favourite city in Europe so it's doubly delicious that it also works so well for families. We have access to superb guides who are experts in their fields - be that archaeology or history of art - but also in another key art; that of teaching children without them…

Verbier

The Best of Verbier

The focal point of the huge Four Valleys ski area in Switzerland, Verbier might just be the perfect all-round Alpine ski resort. Sure, St Anton wins - just - in the après-ski stakes, Zermatt might be (even) prettier and Chamonix has the ultimate gnarly off-piste action, but Verbier delivers…

teens hanging out

Travelling with Teenagers: Teen There, Done That

Time to take a deep breath, bite your tongue and get ready for battle. Or - just as likely- get ready to enjoy some really quality time with your pubescent progent and discuss things in a mature manner. Ha, who are we trying to kid? Joking aside, these years can deliver some genuinely…

Proboscis Monkeys on tree

Your Child's First Expedition: Borneo

Once your children have reached the slightly scary 'tweenage' years of 9-12 years old, you can start veering toward the ever more adventurous holidays, for instance, their first expedition. We think that Malaysian Borneo provides adventure-a-plenty for little explorers; this is the land of…

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

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