I rarely travel when I do NOT use a TA. (If I go to AZ Xmas, or a quick weekend in Texas, I will do my own on line - air and hotel separately).
In 1998 I found a TA on line (thank you Jennifer), and I knew I wanted to go to Mexico but had no clue otherwise. I went strictly on her recommendation of IB Tucan because she had just gone there. I was NOT disappointed.
However I do my research....THEN I go to my current TA (Thank you TAMI!!!) and I can usually do 25 words or less (but I love talking to her!!!). Late 2005 I knew I wanted to try something other than Mexico, just for comparison. I researched on various boards, mostly Debbies Dom Travel. I Narrowed it down to two hotels (Sunscape and IBerostar) near Punta Cana. THen narrowed it down further (Thank you Baltobabe) and went to my TA with "this is what I want - book it...oh, and dont forget I want to go business class") I make her life so easy!!!
FOr next year I am going to go wherever I can use my Delta FF miles (before they go bankrupt). I have enough (or almost enough) to go business class anyplace except Europe......
(sorry I got slightly off MEXICO here!!)