Holidaymakers will find items like meals and drinks costing less than a year ago in 40% of 42 destinations surveyed for a new study.

Falls of 20% or more were recorded in eight of the resorts due to the pound’s year-on-year gains against 70% of the top 40 holiday currencies, according to Post Office Travel Money.

France and Italy remain Europe’s most expensive countries for UK visitors as they have been for the past decade.

Singapore emerges as this year’s costliest country at £153.72 for a sample of eight tourist items – a meal for two, drinks, suncream and insect repellent – above Dubai at £141.23.

Sunny Beach in Bulgaria is the best value spot in the Post Office Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer for the first time, with a clear margin of victory over its two closest rivals, Japan and the Algarve.

Prices in Nice have risen almost 17% since last year to £106.45.

This is more than double the cost in Sunny Beach in Bulgaria at £37.92 and the Algarve in Portugal at £44.25.

Italy is cheaper than France, with prices in Sorrento at £91.47 coming in 14% lower than in Nice.

The biggest increase has been in the Costa del Sol, where prices have increased by more than 42% to £55.20 – the result of steep increases in the cost of eating out.

The only European destination to register a price fall was Porec in Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula. A drop of 11% sees the tourist items now cost £61.54.

However, the steepest price falls have been in long-haul destinations, thanks to a combination of the stronger pound and lower charges in shops, restaurants and bars.

Prices have dropped 36% in Dubai (Jumeirah Beach, £141.23) and 27% in New Zealand (Auckland, £104.80), 31% in St Lucia (Rodney Bay, £99.61) and Antigua (Jolly Beach, £114.18); 27% in Jamaica (Montego Bay, £105.53) and 26% in the Dominican Republic (Punta Cana, £67.46).

The Japanese capital of Tokyo at £43.14 remains the cheapest long-haul destination on the back of a 26% price fall.

Cape Town at £54.95 registered a 16% drop in prices.

Across the Atlantic, Orlando at £71.82 is more cost effective for UK visitors as prices have dropped 11% since last January when the US dollar was much stronger.

New York at £95.88 has also seen a marginal fall in tourist costs – albeit of only 1%.

A 21% year-on-year price rise in Phuket in Thailand to £86.27 compares with falls in Vietnam and Bali. Prices in Hoi An, Vietnam have fallen by 21% to £65.85, while those in Kuta, Bali are down 1% at 66.61. This means visitors to Phuket are likely to pay around 30% more than in Hoi An or Kuta.

Andrew Brown, of Post Office Travel Money said: “The squeeze on spending at home means holiday resorts and cities where the pound will stretch further or where local prices are cheap are likely to reap the benefit of increasing visitor numbers in 2018.

“Croatia is one of the biggest destination success stories of the past decade, and its broad appeal to holidaymakers of all types means it can expect to gain further ground in 2018.

“One of the country’s key strengths is its youth appeal and the low prices revealed by this year’s barometer will be an added incentive for this growing market.”

He added: “Growing numbers of bargain-hunting holidaymakers are turning to Bali and Vietnam as awareness of their weak currencies, low resort costs and cheaper flight prices drives demand.

“Over the past five years the Indonesian rupiah and the Vietnamese dong have shown the highest levels of growth of any currency we offer.

“This year’s barometer results are a mixed bag. Holidaymakers planning trips to long-haul destinations will benefit from big price falls that will help their travel cash stretch further. The Far East looks great value – especially Japan, Vietnam and Bali – and so too are several Caribbean islands.

“Closer to home, tourists will have to dig a bit deeper in their pockets to meet the higher prices we found in many resorts.

“Despite this, there is no beating Bulgaria for its low prices and it is good to see Croatia featuring in the best value top ten for the first time. The clear message is to do your holiday homework before booking to be sure of a good deal.”