They are like apples and oranges. For the player that wants to get to the next level travel is pretty much a must. But it is not for everyone. A lot of good athlete slike the game and want to represent there school and have a team experience. High school is great for them. Most travel players get much more press and recognition for their HS then travel. For some an overnight team experiance can be the highlight of their softball career, which is great for them, for some it's just another tournament, who gets more out of it? Ive seen a number of girls who could easyly play in college content to have had a good time in H.S. and are done playing.
So, more important to who, the player or the parent?
Our highschools play softball in the fall so travel ball never really gets in the way. I think the worst that might happen is, if your team is lucky enough to qualify for ASA nationals, you'll probably miss some of your high school tryout. But I've never really heard of that being an issue with any teams or coaches.
That being said, some people might say that by the time the girls enter their high school season they are tired from a long season and don't perform as well in the high school season. So in that way, I could see how some might think travel ball takes away from high school ball.
Here is a video that includes a few interviews with various coaches discussing this issue:
One of the coaches contends that high school ball prepares players for college ball better because it's every day and has academics associated with it. Never really heard that angle because you usually hear about travel ball preparing kids in regard to skill level.
I think the general consensus is that travel ball gets the kids more exposure to colleges, but at the same time i do think it is important to build the relationships and have that interpersonal connection that a high school team would provide its players.