Using the Internet to book travel is here to stay. In the past year, nearly 45 million booked their travel plans through the Web, up nearly 6 percent from the previous year, according to a survey by the Travel Industry Association. In this chart, we've updated our annual guide to travel sites, including new spins on old standbys and new sites worth perusing. We've also added a category on aggregators, sites that basically scan direct booking sites for the best deals and then point you there to purchase. One constant remains: Compare prices on two or more sites to make sure you're getting a fair deal. And, yes, there are plenty of other worthwhile sites out there -- these are our admittedly subjective top picks.

-- Carol Sottili

ALL-PURPOSE BOOKING

www.expedia.com

PROS:

Well-priced package deals (sample: A long weekend in San Diego including flight/car/hotel is at least $100 cheaper than any competitor). Toll-free number is prominently displayed. Traveler tools, such as weather and driving directions, are fairly extensive.

CONS:

Flexible travel date search engine is not as sophisticated as competitors' products.

NEW & NOTABLE:

Extensive cruise offerings, often at competitive prices, but many must be booked by phone. Best site for vacation packages.

www.orbitz.com

PROS:

Extensive flexible search engine, which allows you to search for weekend flights and by various date ranges. Can also book hotels and cars. "Care alerts" feature message updates about air slowdowns, flight status, etc., to cell phone or pager. Gives on-time percentage for flights, plus flight times and mileage.

CONS:

Service fee is $6, $1 higher than the $5 charged by most competitors. Registration required to finalize flight price. Flights must originate in the United States.

NEW & NOTABLE:

"Deal Detector" feature is good and bad: It notifies you when airfare price reaches a preset price, but it pops up often and annoyingly. Best site for airfare searches.

www.travelocity.com

PROS:

Flexible search engine allows you to look at fares for a range of dates for domestic/international destinations, a good way to ID sales. Don't have to register. Detailed descriptions, photos, etc., of cruise ships, and cruise finder allows you to search by departure port.

CONS:

Initial airfares displayed don't always include taxes. When you finalize flight, tries to convince you to add hotel.

NEW & NOTABLE:

Easy to book cruises online. Low-price guarantees for car rentals and hotels. Includes off-airport car rental locations.

www.cheaptickets.com

PROS:

Can search for flights, hotels, cars or combos. Sometimes offers exclusive deals at top hotels, such as Venetian in Las Vegas. Prices are competitive.

CONS:

Charges a $6 booking fee. Links you to other sites, such as Site59, without any indication that you've moved.

NEW & NOTABLE:

Offering $1 trial membership on its travel club (usually $90 a year).

www.onetravel.com

PROS:

Easy-to-use site that searches for air, hotel, vacations, condos, cars and special deals. "Ask the Expert" feature offers advice on such topics as the best way to transport a wedding dress.

CONS:

Annoying pop-ups. Deals seem low, but fine print reveals that an Ocean City condo for $699/week is good only in November/December.

NEW & NOTABLE:

Can now book cruises.