We believe there are five broad benefits to booking through us; (i) our first hand knowledge of the holiday you plan to book, (ii) the leverage we wield with our suppliers, (iii) having one point of contact for all arrangements, (iv) financial protection, and v) our commitment to avoid surcharging clients with foreign exchange risk. The Original Travel team has spent several years sourcing and selecting the very finest properties, airlines and activities from around the world and has first hand experience of everything we offer. Apart from saving you huge amounts of research time we would like to think that our relationships with suppliers are built on very strong foundations and give our clients the very best of what is on offer. Our relationships with properties, guides and groundhandlers have been built up over many years and they depend on us for large chunks of their custom. We are therefore able to wield a certain amount of leverage on them to give our clients the very best service, upgrades where possible etc. Having one source to arrange everything and one point of contact to make changes is central to your peace of mind. Our ATOL licence and AITO membership offer financial protection to you the consumer that you wouldn’t receive if you booked direct. Finally, we manage our foreign exchange positions incredibly closely and are, as far as we know, one of the only tour operators, big and small, to have said (live on the BBC, in fact) that we won’t surcharge clients post booking. We hear stories of clients being approached for as much as four figure surcharges on relatively small bookings because the companies in question have not managed their foreign exchange requirements properly. Believe it or not, these operators are legally allowed to do this.
ATOL - which is short for Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing - exists to protect the public from losing money or being stranded abroad because of the failure of air travel firms. In the highly unlikely event of our insolvency, the CAA will ensure that you are not stranded abroad and will arrange to refund any money you have paid to us for an advance booking. ATOL was first introduced in 1972 and it gives comprehensive consumer protection to 28 million people in the UK who buy flights or air holidays each year. The air hoildays and flights in this brochure are ATOL protected by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is ATOL 5922.
As you’d expect from a company that came about because of its founders’ love of exploring the world, experiencing different cultures, and admiring foreign landscapes, Original Travel feels strongly that tourism can and should benefit countries and peoples. Original Travel is a member of the Responsible Tourism scheme of the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO), from which we have gained four stars for fulfilling a number of criteria covering the areas of RT policies, implementation of sustainable office practive, communication with customers, environmental practice and practical destination activity.
In addition, with a range of destinations as wide as ours - from ski slopes to sand dunes, from Madeira to Mozambique, France to Franschhoek and Lamu to Lima - comes a wide range of conservation and community-related challenges, many of which are being addressed locally, for example: in Morocco, the Kasbah du Toubkal in the High Atlas mountains was restored in conjunction with the Berber people of the nearby Imlil valley, using local labour and traditional methods, and is now run by staff from the Ait Mizane tribe in the surrounding villages. In the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador, Huaorani EcoLodge offers visitors the chance to see the tribe living harmoniously in the rainforest, and the management of this venture will be handed over to the Huaorani people themselves once they are ready to take on all aspects of the conservation and tourism programmes.
We have given every hotel, lodge and camp we offer an ‘eco-rating’ so you can make an informed decision on where to stay in a particular region. In the destinations we feature, we prefer small, locally-run operators and properties where possible, and our trip dossiers are full of recommendations based on our favourite local restaurants, shops and activities. Closer to home, we cycle (we are part of the government’s excellent Cycle to Work scheme) or walk to our Battersea offices, recycle our paper once there, and use Fair Trade products in our kitchen and bathrooms.
Finally, there are four charities we feel specifically strongly about, and we donate on a per booking basis (depending on where our clients are travelling) to the following charities:
For clients who go to Africa we donate to Tusk:
Tusk was established in response to an urgent need to halt the decline in Africa’s natural heritage and find a way to combine the interests of people and wildlife alike. Tusk has just under 50 charitable projects in 19 African countries, many of which can be visited by our clients. A full list of Tusk projects is available at this link Tusk Projects. Please just ask and we will do our best to arrange a visit. Since its formation in 1990 Tusk has raised over £12 million for a wide range of projects across Africa.
For clients who go to Latin America we donate to the LATA Foundation:
The LATA Foundation is a UK-based charity dedicated to promoting sustainable development in Latin America and responsible business practices in the tourism industry. It was originally conceived and set up by members of LATA and is overseen by an independent board of Trustees. If you are travelling to Latin America and you would like to visit one of LATA Foundation’s projects this can easily be arranged, please just ask us.
For clients who go to Asia we support Elephant Family:
You may have seen the beautifully coloured elephant parade arranged by Elephant Family in London in Summer 2010. Elephant Family’s vision is a world in which the Asian elephant is no longer an endangered species. Since its launch in 2002, Elephant Family has invested £3 million in securing and restoring vital corridors of land. They have supported local communities to reduce incidents of human-elephant conflict and improve the welfare of captive elephants. And they have worked hard to highlight the plight of the Asian elephant back home too, with UK-wide education programmes and publicity.
For those travelling anywhere else we would ask you to consider supporting Stuff Your Rucksack:
Stuff Your Rucksack is a simple and clever idea giving adventurous travellers an opportunity to make a genuinely positive contribution to local communities. How many times have you been travelling and visited a school or community or local charity that you would love to help? The school needs books, or a map or pencils; an orphanage needs children's clothes or toys. All things that, if only you'd known, you could have packed. Stuff Your Rucksack lists over 100 projects worldwide and what they need so next time you head off you can pack things that they need. A list of the projects is available at this link Stuff Your Rucksack Projects.
In the last couple of years we have organised holidays as diverse as a trek to the North Pole, altitude marathon training in the High Atlas, a polar bear safari in the Arctic, a club cricket tour to Sri Lanka, honeymoons into the heart of Uganda, Namibia and Patagonia, and an annual 80-person bobsleighing trip for a leading UK company. We relish a challenge, so if there’s something special you would like to organise, let us know and we will do our best to make it happen.
We see our Big Short Breaks as ideal corporate and incentive territory. We are constantly putting together corporate trips from simple six people weekends to far more innovative trips for larger groups. Please see the Corporate section of the website for more details and ideas of the sort of trips we have organised to date.
We will inform you of any visa and passport requirements, and will offer advice on vaccinations required. We do however recommend that you seek a qualified opinion from your GP for further inoculation advice.
Credit card companies’ insurance coverage often offers the very lowest cover on the market. Furthermore several of Original Travel’s holidays involve activities that you are unlikely to be covered for under your existing policy. We will not sell a holiday to someone who is not sufficiently covered. We can issue policies that provide the very highest level of insurance cover for your holiday and for the activities you will be enjoying.
We provide financial protection for our package holidays where your journey. 1. For flight-based holidays this is through our Air Travel Organiser’s Licence number 5922. When you buy an ATOL protected flight or flight inclusive holiday from us you will receive an ATOL Certificate. This lists the flight, accommodation, car hire and/or other services that are financially protected, where you can get information on what this means for you and who to contact if things go wrong. We will provide you with the services listed on the ATOL Certificate (or a suitable alternative). In some cases, where we aren’t able to do so for reasons of insolvency, an alternative ATOL holder may provide you with the services you have bought or a suitable alternative (at no extra cost to you). You agree to accept that in those circumstances the alternative ATOL holder will perform those obligations and you agree to pay any money outstanding to be paid by you under your contract to that alternative ATOL holder. However, you also agree that in some cases it will not be possible to appoint an alternative ATOL holder, in which case you will be entitled to make a claim under the ATOL scheme (or your credit card issuer where applicable). 2. When you buy a package holiday that doesn’t include a flight, protection is provided by way of a bond to ABTA held by our bankers, Svenska Handelsbanken. For further information please see www.abta.com. Original Travel is a member of the Association of Independent Tour Operators. The Association represents Britain’s leading independent tour operators and encourages the highest standards in all aspects of tour operating. AITO sets criteria regarding ownership, finance and quality which must be satisfied before new companies are admitted to membership. Member companies, usually owner-managed, strive to create overseas holidays with high levels of professionalism and a shared concern for quality and personal service. Original Travel abides by the Association’s Code of Conduct and adheres to the AITO Quality Charter which can be viewed on www.aito.co.uk. Visit the website to find out more about the Association or call AITO on 020 8744 9280
We’d like to think that if at all - for the better. The tie-up brought together two market-leading companies, both of whom take pride in the quality of their experience-led travel portfolios and also their culture of offering exceptional levels of customer-service. The enlarged company is now one of the best tailor-made choices for clients at the luxury end of the market. Combining portfolios offers an exceptionally wide array of destinations to both sets of clients. Bringing the two teams together has formed a group of consultants with in depth knowledge and unparalleled experience in tailor-made travel world-wide, particularly to Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and the Indian sub-continent.