Do Chains Help (or Hurt) the Travel Experience?

zmtomako, flickr

In the age of Anywhere, USA, the strip mall, hotel chains and box-store-induced phenomena that make one town nearly indistinguishable from the next make it seem as if the authentic travel experience is going the way of the dinosaurs.

More and more, hitting the road for a vacation in a distant location means being faced with the same hotel chains and familiar restaurants that you find in your own backyard half a country -- even half a world -- away.