Frequently asked questions
What is customized travel?
Customized or tailor-made travel means we design a holiday to your specific needs, interests and budget. Go when you like. Return when you like. Move around as you wish. Or stay in just one place. Customized travel is about freedom. We piece together all the different elements you need for your trip: from flights and car rental, to hotels, trains and tours, and offer you a complete, personalized holiday. All you have to do is pack!
What are the advantages of customized travel?
The problem with most off-the-shelf holidays is that you have to fit the package, instead of the package fitting you. Customized travel, by contrast, is so flexible. We can book the complete vacation, or just parts. Another advantage is that we can combine in one holiday destinations in different countries, or different locations in the same country. And customized travel lets you economize on some areas of your trip, but then splurge on a bit of luxury in a very special place.
How does customized travel work?
The secret to customized travel is having access to all the different building blocks that go towards constructing a holiday. Like a cooking recipe, some holidays may call for flights and hotels, while others may only need car rental and tours. Because we can book every element of your holiday separately, there is no limit to the possible combinations.
We act as travel intermediary and advisor only. Responsibility for the provision of services rests with each individual supplier.
Is customized travel more expensive?
You don't need to pay more to have a customized holiday. We work with some of the biggest providers of hotels, car rental and other services, whose prices are usually well below published rates. Our clients are constantly telling us that our prices are competitive with packaged vacation holidays, and with the internet.
Am I paying more to use your services?
Of course we have to earn an income from the holidays we sell. But remember we are using specially-contracted wholesale rates. Even after taking our margin into consideration, we believe our prices are equal, if not better, than what you could find online.
Why can't I book my own holiday online?
Anything is possible today with the internet, but why struggle with information overload, and waste your valuable time, when we can do the work for you for the same, if not better, price? When you book with us, you also gain from our personal travel experience and expertise. We do more than make a booking; we advise. And that's hard to find online.
I only need flights. Can I still book with you?
With us, no booking is too big or too small. Customized travel is about flexibility. Today you may only need a night in Paris, but tomorrow you may want an African safari. We handle bookings of any size.
Can I earn miles on flights I book with you?
Our sophisticated airline booking system allows us to enter frequent flyer numbers into our reservations. Simply advise us of your frequent flyer account numbers at the time of booking.
Do I have to live in Europe to book with you?
Although we are based in Belgium, you can book with us regardless of your country of residence. We serve clients in countries around the world, including Australia, Canada, China, the Middle East and the USA. The majority of our clients in Europe are English-speaking expatriates on executive contracts. All our correspondence will be in English, although we also understand Dutch and French. We are fortunate that almost all our new business comes from referrals from existing clients.
What are some of your top destinations?
We have been to virtually every destination we sell. Our most popular trips include fly-drive holidays in Italy, Spain, Germany and France; island-hopping in Greece and Croatia; city breaks in London, Paris and Rome, to name just a few; and cruises in the Mediterranean or Baltic Seas. For something more exotic, we organize 5-star personalized tours of Egypt with a Nile cruise; beach holidays in S.E. Asia, the Seychelles, Mauritius or The Maldives; private or group safaris in Eastern and Southern Africa; and fly-drive holidays by car or camper in the USA and Canada. The list is endless. Wherever you want to go, whatever you want to do, we can help.
For inspirational travel ideas, download our 'travel tips' flyer here!
What 'extra value' can you bring to my holiday?
American Travel Center is more than just a booking service. Because we have traveled so extensively, we speak from personal experience when we advise you about destinations. We know how long to stay in each place, how best to get around, and even the best route to follow if you're driving. Our destination knowledge is being continously enriched by client feedback. When you book with us, we'll email to you a detailed, independent sightseeing report which even includes restaurant recommendations and trendy places to shop.
What are my payment options?
Once you agree with the program and the price, we book the services and email our invoice. We work on a prepayment basis. We prefer payment by electronic bank transfer and we have accounts in Euros, US dollars, Canadian dollars, Australian dollars, and British pounds. We will advise the currency on our invoice. We also accept payment by credit card (Visa, Mastercard and American Express). It is also possible to pay in some instances by personal check. Please note, we may add handling supplements for payment by credit card and by personal check. There is no supplement for payment by bank transfer. Credit card supplements are currently 1% on Visa and Mastercard and 2,25% on Amex.
VAT (sales tax) may apply to your booking. We will advise the amount of VAT on our invoice. VAT rarely amounts to 1% or 2% of the total trip price. Our terms and conditions apply to all our bookings (click on 'trading terms' for a copy).
How do I get my travel documents?
We will send you your travel documentation once we receive payment. Most travel documentation today is in electronic format, which means we can send practically everything by email. Airlines no longer issue paper tickets. With e-tickets, you can check-in for your flight with just your passport. Thanks to the electronic revolution, we are no longer reliant on the post for the delivery of travel documentation. Emailing is fast, secure and easy. Great as well for last-minute trips, even leaving the same day!
What about visas and vaccinations?
Let us know the nationality of your passport and we will check the visa rules for your destination. We can advise you about visas but we are not responsible for obtaining them. For some destinations, such as Russia, we will provide visa support documentation in the form of invitation letters (fee may apply for this service). Depending on the destination, we also advise on recommended vaccinations.
Is my holiday investment secure?
American Travel Center is a member of GfG, the Belgian travel guarantee fund (policy # 0903121900/99323). GfG stands guarantee for your holiday if a member is unable to fulfill its financial obligations: it will offer you a refund you if your holiday has not already commenced, or ensure you can complete your holiday if you have already departed.