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A Review of 4 Travel Booking Sites

On-line travel aggregators save you time by searching scores of travel sites, consolidators, and agencies for the best rates. When you select the flight, hotel, or cruise you want, you're automatically redirected to the supplier's site to book directly. We tested four aggregators to find out their highlights and quirks, and ran three types of airfare searches.—JIM GLAB

* Searches were done June 27, 2005, for outbound travel Sept. 1, returning Sept. 7.

kayak.com
Web sites searched More than 100 airfare, hotel, car, cruise, and vacation sites (Airfare.com, CruiseDirect.com, Car Rentals. com)
Pluses Will search multiple airports, specify departure times and nonstops, access destination info from AOL and About.com
Minuses Preferred flight times in airfare search limited to "morning," "afternoon," etc.
Lowest round-trip fare from New York to Denver $258 on American Airlines (one stop each way; early morning departure westbound)
Lowest round-trip fare from Seattle to Washington, D.C.
$244 on American Airlines (one stop each way; early morning departure westbound)
Lowest round-trip fare from Chicago to Rome
$1,040 on Northwest (eastbound KLM/Alitalia via Amsterdam; westbound KLM/KLM)

farechase.yahoo.com
Web sites searched 88 air, hotel, and car-rental sites (Orbitz.com, Delta.com, Lastminutetravel.com)
Pluses Our favorite overall. Has the best variety of search parameters and lots of research from its Yahoo! partnership
Minuses Prices quoted from initial rental-car searches don't include taxes or fees
Lowest round-trip fare from New York to Denver $264 on American Airlines (one stop each way; leaves from JFK, returns to LaGuardia)
Lowest round-trip fare from Seattle to Washington, D.C.
$268 on Independence Air (nonstop; red-eye eastbound; flies to Dulles Airport)
Lowest round-trip fare from Chicago to Rome
$1,038 on Northwest (eastbound KLM/Alitalia via Amsterdam; westbound via Detroit)

sidestep.com
Web sites searched More than 100 airfare, hotel, car, and vacation sites (Orbitz.com, Hotels.com, VacationOutlet.com)
Pluses PC users can download the toolbar and compare results with those of other sites. Has user reviews of hotels
Minuses Can't specify nonstops only" in initial search for airfares
Lowest round-trip fare from New York to Denver $266 on JetBlue Airways (nonstop; late-night arrival westbound; red-eye eastbound)
Lowest round-trip fare from Seattle to Washington, D.C.
$240 on ATA Airlines (flies to Reagan National Airport; one stop each way)
Lowest round-trip fare from Chicago to Rome
$948 on Airfare.com (Lufthansa with connections at Frankfurt eastbound, Munich westbound)

mobissimo.com
Web sites searched 130 air, hotel, and car-rental sites (CheapTickets.com, Opodo.com,Lodging.com, Auto Europe.com)
Pluses The best for overseas research. Covers a large number of foreign airline and supplier Web sites
Minuses Hotel searches put cheapest finds first, so suburban properties are listed before downtown options
Lowest round-trip fare from New York to Denver $266 on JetBlue Airways (nonstop; late-night arrival westbound)
Lowest round-trip fare from Seattle to Washington, D.C.
$240 on ATA Airlines (flies to Reagan National Airport; one stop each way)
Lowest round-trip fare from Chicago to Rome
$1,050 on Airfare.com (KLM with connections at Amsterdam each way)

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