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Hotels, by the Booking

PlacesToStay.com. Besides featuring properties in big cities in North America, Europe and other parts of the world, this site has an impressive number of bed-and-breakfasts and smaller properties in resort areas and other regions popular with leisure travelers. But the rates are not always the cheapest.

Travelweb.com. This site gives high profile to major U.S. hotel chains -- including Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, InterContinental and Starwood -- and offers discounts at other chains and independent hotels. But its promise to offer the lowest prices at chain properties does not always hold true.

Searching for the lowest rate at New York's Waldorf-Astoria, we found a range of prices, from $379 (via Hotels.com) to $295 (calling the hotel directly). (Waldorf-Astoria)

_____Way to Go Guide_____
Travel Agents, With Reservations
Booking a Flight: A Seven-Step Plan
Hotels, by the Booking
Catching the Bus
Taking the Train
How to Renew or Apply for a Passport
Specialty Travel
Before You Go: A Traveler's Toolbox

Booking Abroad

Europe or Asia bound? For travelers looking for rooms abroad, the following brokers are worth checking:

Venere.com. This Rome agency features 26,000 hotels in more than a dozen countries worldwide, but it's particularly good for deals in Italy. Reservations are with the agency, but the hotel is paid directly.

• MyTravelDream.com. This Austrian company functions like a reverse-auction site. Travelers provide their desired dates and locations and within 24 hours four hotels will come back with offers. It features 55,000 properties worldwide but is particularly strong in Germany and Central Europe.

France Hotel Reservation.com. This Paris agency offers 5,000 hotels throughout France. In addition to luxury properties, one- and two-star hotels usually not listed elsewhere are included.

Asia-Hotels.com. This Hong Kong agency has for years offered excellent bargains for rooms in China, Japan and 22 other Asian countries. With a recent expansion into Europe, it lists more than 20,000 properties.

• Laterooms.com. A British site offering 20,000 rooms all over Great Britain and other European countries. Some of the most tempting bargains are in London. Example: A double at the Rembrandt, a four-star hotel in the South Kensington section, is going for $175 a night, down from $382.

Utell.com. This site includes properties throughout Europe and in some North and South American and Middle East destinations. Although not the most user-friendly site, it can be helpful finding rooms in some smaller European cities, such as Brugge, Belgium, and Seville, Spain.

All-hotels.com. This Scotland-based site lists 100,000 properties in nearly every country -- more than other site. It includes some good deals but blends them in with rates that are steeper than on other sites.

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