While rip-offs can happen, in most cases you'll pay for everything you get and hopefully get all you pay for. Just make sure you know what you are buying. A particular hotel can be expensive not because it offers an interesting, luxurious night's rest, but simply because it is right downtown.

What are you paying for? You're paying for an extra hour or two touring London, knowing the hotel is a quick Tube ride away instead of a train journey out of town. You'll trade a traditional English breakfast for a room that's quiet enough for the little one to nod off before nine.

In Japan one can stay at traditional inns (ryokan) that offer exquisite meals, subtle but attentive service and a soak in scalding water in a cedar tub polished by the delighted Ahhhh…'s of thousands of guests.

This might be worth US$300 a night, but not with a six year old. An inquisitive teenager might however have his horizons extended all the way into three thousand years of Japanese history. Buy him a hundred Dreamquest games and you won't come close to the same thing at the right time for the right kid.

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