Sterling’s year-on-year gains against 70% of the top 40 holiday currencies, ranging from the US dollar to the Turkish lira, mean lower costs for UK visitors in many of the world’s most popular hotspots, according to Post Office Travel Money’s annual Holiday Money Report.

The Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer published in the report shows that tourist items like meals and drinks will cost less than a year ago in more than 40% of the 42 destinations surveyed, with falls of 20% or more in eight of those hotspots.

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.”

Sunny Beach, Bulgaria has taken the top spot in the Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer for the first time, with a clear margin of victory over its two closest rivals, Japan and the Algarve. Its reputation for value made 2017 a good year for Bulgaria and the Bulgarian lev’s appearance in the Post Office’s Fastest Growing Currencies chart was evidence of increased consumer demand. At £37.92 for eight tourist items – a meal for two, drinks, suncream and insect repellent, Sunny Beach can expect to attract more bargain-hunters in the year ahead.

The biggest price falls of all 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), while prices have plummeted in the Caribbean: 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).

There have also been significant price falls in two long-haul cities that have risen to prominence in Post Office barometers in recent years. Japanese capital Tokyo (£43.14) remains the cheapest long-haul destination and has moved up from eighth to second place in the barometer of 42 global favourites on the back of a 26% price fall. Cape Town (£54.95), which has also attracted growing numbers of UK visitors because of its favourable exchange rate and low city costs, returns to the best value top ten in fifth place. The top tourist city in South Africa, which is among the Post Office’s ten hotlist trips for 2018, has moved up from last year’s 11th position after registering a 16% drop in prices. These are the only two long-haul destinations to feature in the Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer top ten as Europe continues to dominate the ten leading places.

However, rising prices mean holidaymakers can expect to pay more in 11 of 12 European resorts and cities. Prices have risen by a third to £44.25 in the Algarve, last year’s best value destination, which has dropped to third place.

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. At £61.54, a drop of 11% has taken the Croatian resort into the worldwide barometer top ten for the first time, in ninth place. Croatia is one of ten Post Office 2018 hotlist tips after Croatian kuna sales surged by 38% last year and doubled over the past five years.

Brown said: “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.”

France and Italy remain Europe’s most expensive countries for UK visitors as they have been throughout the ten years of the Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer. Prices in Nice have risen almost 17% since last year to £106.45 and are well over double those in Sunny Beach and the Algarve. Italy is cheaper than France though, with prices in Sorrento (£91.47) 14% lower than in Nice.

Across the Atlantic, Orlando (£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 (£95.88) has also seen a marginal fall in tourist costs – albeit of only 1%.

Brown said: “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 10 for the first time. The clear message is to do your holiday homework before booking to be sure of a good deal.”

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