Travel search engines, which allow you to book directly with suppliers, have the potential to completely disrupt the status-quo. Here's a look at two new highly disruptive services that offer great advice for travelers.

According to Wikipedia (with a small edit by me), "a market is transparent if much is known by many about: 1) what products and services are available, 2) the price of those products and services, and 3) where those products and services are available. A high degree of transparency can result in disintermediation due to the buyer's increased knowledge of supply pricing." As an economics student in college in the mid-late 90s, the theory of transparency was extremely exciting to me because the internet promised to open everything up, empowering the consumer to make informed decisions.

I'd argue that this vision for the consumer facing internet didn't exactly pan out as planned. And while the travel industry is a lot less opaque than it once was, we're no where near transparency. This is exactly why I'm so bullish on new ideas in online travel booking. At this point, high booking fees are already a thing of the past for many consumers who use the travel search engines (SideStep, Kayak, Mobissimo, FareChase, etc).

Unfortunately, there's still no way to know if you're really getting a good price on your flight. But that could be changing with new offerings from Farecast and FareCompare.

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