Since I was bitten by the travel bug after a visit to NYC, I decided to try out Farecast, which checks flights, hotels and vacation deals across several travel sites at once. Wanting to check out hotels, I typed in a city and my pop-up blocker went crazy. You see, you need to temporarily allow pop-ups from this site because each search prompts opening a different window for each travel site. I got results from travelocity, expedia, hotels.com, hotwire and priceline. I was surprised Orbitz wasn't included. This is pretty cool because you can check each site for the same hotel and compare prices, but you have to beware of some comparisons and read the fine print because some of the prices listed include fees and others do not so check that out so you can compare apples to apples. Also, if you are a member of some of these individual sites you may be able to get better deals by signing in to those sites first.
I came across a site similar to this earlier this summer and it may have been kayak, the second runner up in this category. In that other one, you viewed the first result and then clicked to view the next and so on. This one is better because it opens all the windows in tabs on my browser so I can click and switch from one to the other fairly quickly to go back and forth. However, I wish there was a way to get the results listed side by side all in the same window. I have yet to find a site that does. If you know of one, please comment!
Two ways this would be useful for schools and students: for coaches trying to book rooms for teams playing in tournaments other places, students who are doing travel brochures for a country (history project) in which they have to do a budget trip and a deluxe trip (my son had to do this for Africa). All right, all right, not much to do with libraries, but I would recommend it for students doing this type of project when they are in my library's computer lab.