What's up, Joey? Travel trends

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You know, I think all of us could really use a vacation right about now. People have slowly but surely been recovering from hard financial times, and relaxation is one trend that I’d love to see back in popularity.

And it’s so easy now to get all of these travel plans mapped out online, but could you be missing out on something by doing that? Could some of the old ways of travel booking still be the best?

“Always talk to a travel professional,” says travel agent Malaka Hilton of Admiral Travel in Sarasota, FL. "We know everybody in the industry. We know what the true value is out there. We can VIP you. The computer can't. We have those relationships."

There are just too many details and opportunities that you’ll miss when sitting in front of a laptop in your PJs. And honestly, who wants to be careless with their vacation time?

Despite online booking sites like Travelocity, old-fashioned travel agents are finding more customers coming into their offices. This is almost surely a sign of better economic times, Hilton believes.

“People are booking more—let’s say a year in advance. Some are even planning a year and a half to two years in advance. The last couple years, it wasn’t like that, so it means that travelers have a good feeling about where they are and what their future plans are as far as travel goes.”

But while there are many of these people who are making the most of their vacation plans, some people just don’t have the money to book with a travel agent. But don’t worry! There are so many ways that you can still have a fun and relaxing vacation on a reasonable budget, thanks to group discount websites like Groupon and Livingsocial. I certainly know that I couldn’t have had a great vacation this year without sites like these.

So what does this mean for all those travelers looking to book their next trip? Is any one way better than the other? I don’t think so. I think the lesson here is that people take their vacations very seriously, no matter what financial state they’re in. And whether they book it all with an agent or do it themselves, there are lots of ways to get the vacation you don’t just need, but you deserve!

Joey Panek: Travel