www.sidestep.com

PROS:

The granddaddy, and most sophisticated, of the myriad new Web sites that scan booking sites to find the best deal. Searches about 585 airlines, 90,000 hotels and 2,800 rental car locations.

CONS:

Airfare search mechanism must be downloaded.

NEW & NOTABLE:

Now offers Web versions of its hotel and rental car search services (www.side stephotels.com and www.sidestepcars .com).

www.bookingbuddy.com

PROS:

Owned by www.smarterliving.com, it links to most of the major booking sites and does not have to be downloaded.

CONS:

You must individually click each booking site that you want to search, so it's more of a traffic cop than an actual searching tool.

NEW & NOTABLE:

Also searches for cruises.

www.travelaxe.com

PROS:

Specializes in hotels and searches more than 20 Web sites for hotel rates in 66 countries. Filters by price, rating, hotel name, distance to center of an interactive map, or keyword.

CONS:

Must be downloaded.

NEW & NOTABLE:

List of special events in each city lets you know when big doings may be hiking prices.

www.qixo.com

PROS:

Searches 28 sites for flights, hotels, cars and cruises. Does not require downloading.

CONS:

Charges a $20 fee. Must input your information before it will switch you to provider that's offering the low fare.

NEW & NOTABLE:

Also searches for hostels.

www.cheapflights.com

PROS:

Plug in a city pair, and it shows you lowest fares being offered between the two with rules as to when the fares apply. It also checks JetBlue, Southwest and other discounters, a major plus. Offers useful list of alternative airports and miles between them. Transfers to booking site to purchase. No fee.

CONS:

Must ferret through details to see if fare applies to your travel dates.

NEW & NOTABLE:

Founded in 1996 in England, it is starting to make inroads in U.S. market. Works best for major markets.