Searching online for the best travel deals can be a time-consuming proposition. On average, most consumers visit more than three websites to compare prices. The promise of travel search websites such as Kayak, SideStep and Mobissimo is that they help with some of the heavy lifting of finding the best travel deals online. But they are not yet perfect.

They differ from online travel agencies such as Travelocity and Orbitz in that they do not actually make bookings but send consumers directly to other websites, where travelers can finalize and pay for the deals they find. They comb through dozens of websites, including Travelocity and Orbitz, as well as so-called travel supplier websites such as those operated by the airlines or hotel chains.

The deal-finding websites have been popular with consumers. SideStep has been around as a pop-up application for six years. It has been downloaded by more than 9 million users and, since launching a search website two years ago, has become the 11th most popular travel site as ranked by Hitwise, a New York-based research company that tracks individual usage of the Internet. Kayak's website, which has also been around for two years, is the 10th most popular.

Get the full story at the Los Angeles Times