My little cousin plays on a select baseball team like what you are talking about. They don't travel far and so there isn't a need to pay for hotels. And, all they pay for is their tournament entry fees and uniform. They have a great coach who cares for his players (under 10). If we could find a team like that my kids would play, but there just aren't that many around here that aren't extremely competitive.
You can also get bad (very competitive) coaches in league play also, but luckily you only spend one season on that team. Our league does total redrafts every year to keep this from happening. My husband and I usually have teams with players that are not the best because we play them all and will play them infield at times and so we get a lot of request from parents. This would not happen if we were in what is considered a competitive league. But, we have had a lot of late bloomers over the years that would have sat the bench on more competitive teams, but got a lot of playing time on ours. Now, we do get a lot of criticism from parents who thought that their kids should be playing infield at all times and should never sit the bench. But, we just make sure that we don't pick them the next year. And, we explain that this is just a fun league.
I did play competitive select soccer (very competitive) and we traveled all over Texas every weekend. I loved it, but it also takes a certain kind of kid to do this. We don't have competitive soccer now (just Upwards where I am a coach) anywhere around here. But the kids still have fun. I might change my mind if we had select soccer