A little extra competition in the travel game's always good for the consumer, like when they finally privatized the trains so that people would have a choice of who to blame for being late. Stirring up competition to save you cash, HolidayCrowd, just launched in beta.
Dreamed up by a Bristolian team tired of endlessly slogging the web for travel deals, Crowd flips the process on its head by having you sketch out your ideal trip, then inviting competing offers direct from "agents across the UK", also a phrase used when discussing people going away for a much longer period of time. Everything begins with a Trip Request: just give a rundown of your plan, with info on budget, travel dates, and a description of what you're after, either a wildly vague one using the Freeform Builder ("I want to go the beach next month with some mates"), or a more exacting one using the Detailed Builder, which allows for specific destinations, airlines, hotel types (# of stars, location w/in destination, etc.), or, in the case of a cruise, specs like preferred line and duration, but sadly not "tendency to brag about how he's the only one who can save people in car accidents". Agents (all approved by the site) are then encouraged to use their insider info and contacts to undercut one another as they create personalized itineraries for your trip, which they submit in the same format to your "Dashboard" before your designated cut-off date; there's even an online chat section that lets you ask them questions about their package, after which you should probably erase your browser history.
One you've nailed down your vacay, you can book everything through the site, and get all your tickets, reservations, and itineraries in one fell swoop -- if only the trains worked so efficiently, you wouldn't be sitting on that bench until your caboose falls asleep. There's never a Virgin around when you need one!