Mexico for 5? Try a condotel

If my inboxes are any indication there are some trips afoot. Readers and friends have been tossing questions my way, suddenly and in abundance. So here are some that might translate to a wider audience:

Question: “My daughter graduates from high school next year and wants to go on a trip to Spain. Given the distance and cost it would mean only she and another family member would go. We were brainstorming and thought maybe a family vacation to Mexico over spring break would be an acceptable alternative. Our dilemma is there are five of us and five in one room for five days … not fun. I wondered if you had any thoughts about affordable accommodations for five. My husband would like to rent a house, but I am a little afraid of that in Mexico.”

Answer: Renting a house isn’t a bad option, but it does leave you to fend for yourself. But there is such a thing as a “condotel” that could work for a family of five.

Condotels are condominium complexes that, when owners are away, rent the units to vacationers. The condotels are usually staffed something like a hotel, so if you need directions or assistance help is on site. You’ll have full access to any complex amenities like pools. What you won’t have is any idea what to expect in terms of decor or furnishings — each unit will have been decorated and equipped by the owner.

Condotels sometimes show up on major travel booking sites. You also can do a Web search for “condotel” and your destination or widen the search by hitting up vacation rental sites such as Vacation Rentals By Owner ( and

Which day to fly?

Question: “Oh travel guru (ed. note: aw, shucks…), is it myth or reality that flying on Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday is cheaper?”

Answer: As with all things airline pricing, the answer is “it depends.” But generally, yes, those days can be less expensive because they are lighter days for business travel.

Your mileage may vary based on lots of factors. If, for instance, you’re looking at a heavy leisure route (to Florida, Mexico, etc.), Saturday might be more expensive because lots of people will be starting their vacations. It pays to be flexible.

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Lisa Schwarz

About Lisa Schwarz

By day, I'm a St. Cloud Times editor guiding coverage of politics, government, public safety and business beats. By night, I'm leading the cubicle jailbreak as the Times Traveler. Follow me on Twitter at and on Facebook at
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