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Is this last-minute holiday deal too good to be true?

Simon Calder’s Travel

Tunisian winter sun for £235 per person, including flights from Gatwick, 15kg of checked baggage, plus seven nights half board and transfers? This last-minute deal seemed too good to be true – and I intended to find out if it was.

Last month, The Independent reported that Tui was selling a package to Tunisia at a 54 per cent discount on the full price of £506. This worked out at an impressive £1.40 per hour for room, flight and both breakfast and dinner.

But such deals aren’t called “last-minute” for nothing and, depending on your circumstances, might involve a mad scramble to arrange matters at home and work. In my case, this involved having a little over a week to organise dog walking, childcare and meeting deadlines ahead of time (never my forte).

Departure time is another factor. In this instance, the flight left at 6am, requiring passengers to either book an airport hotel, airport parking, or early morning car service, any of which will heft up the overall price considerably. Alternatively, you face sitting up/passing out in the terminal overnight. In addition, the “bargain” price was based on two sharing, which leaves solo travellers to pay a single supplement – in this case, around £7 per day.

The four-star Phenicia Hotel offers half-board and all-inclusive options


But these are only tiny flies in what was, for the most part, a deliciously silky, scented ointment. A seamless check-in process via the app and a timely departure (along with a charming Scottish captain, who thanked the passengers for being on time for an early start) was just the start of it. We arrived at Enfidha-Hammamet International Airport, located the easily-spotted Tui rep and boarded the transfer, which dropped passengers off at various resorts en route, before arriving at the four-star Phenicia Hotel.

Feedback from other guests throughout the course of the week was nothing short of rapturous. “A fantastic deal”, one told me. “Couldn’t have asked for better,” said another.

“I’ve never done a package holiday before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect”, said a third, “But I’ll definitely do this again.”

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