|The coast of Northern California on a flight home one trip|
There are so many sites where you can do due diligence and - with luck - find cheap air fares and hotel rooms I hesitate to begin listing them, but since they're important to note as references, I'll put some up here today. These don't take the place of agencies and other brick-and-mortar places for everyone, but for the adventurous they're definitely worth a look.
This isn't anything like a comprehensive list, but it might save you re-creating the wheel, if you know what I mean. Take them as my preferences (like my preference for EVA Air), and with a grain or ten of salt... then do the legwork and make up your own mind. No penalty, no foul from this referee, that's for sure.
Kayak was recommended to me by a forum friend some years back, and overall they've been my site of choice. I invariably start here, and if I don't find what I'm happy with I add others. Truth be told I usually check the others before clicking "confirm", anyway - and as we covered Friday I often find decent deals by going through the airline I'm considering.
I have two friends who think very highly of Orbitz, and one that doesn't. I've not found much there that I couldn't find for within a few dollars elsewhere, myself. Don't forget to check sites like Travelocity and Hotwire, either; they (like Orbitz) handle so many bookings that they have enormous buying power in some cases.
More and more companies are popping up, though, and checking a travel forum or two can alert you to them. I've had Priceline recommended to me, but I've heard tales of folks being locked into flights (possibly because they weren't paying close enough attention) and I'm leery of that "name your own price" deal. Just be aware. Again, suggestions on sites you've found to be handy (or hellish) are welcome.
Kind of a short post today, sorry. Family obligations, but joyous ones.
Next: peripheral reference links.