What are the benefits of using a travel agent when booking a vacation?

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - According to Mark Murphy, who is a travel expert who has appeared on CNN and ABC, said Jamaica is the top destination for a warmer climate but Alaska is the top cold destination right now. Murphy said people are still using cruises to travel though as well, and Royal Caribbean is one of the top cruise lines. More and more people are taking ocean cruises to travel and see Europe. In addition to that, the river cruising industry is growing in the United States.

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He suggests using a travel agent to book trips because they can help give you the best experience you want.

"Number one travel agent usage is way up and continues to climb," Murphy said. "Why? They provide value, advice, all sorts of things including advice on travel insurance."

It's important to protect your trip in case something happens. One travel tip Murphy has to save money is to book when there isn't much demand.

"You go on vacation when everyone else is back in school," Murphy said. "Or after a big peak period like Christmas right at the start of January when the resorts empty out. That's when you book."

He said one of the best times to travel to the Caribbean or Mexico is right after Easter break going into the summer. Other times to save money on any vacation are September up to Thanksgiving break and then after that holiday to Christmas.

One thing Murphy said is a common misconception when it comes to travel agents is that they cost more than what you would pay booking your own trip. He said no matter what, you end up paying fees at some point when you book travel. So a travel agent can get rid of those fees and it ends up costing the same in the end, but you get the added bonus of an agent's advice.