I have many small bags with leftover currency from several overseas trips lying in a drawer at home. Each year the number of these bags increase. I realised that I need to see how I can use this foreign currency – here are a few ideas:
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1. Keep it for a future trip
Some currencies are easier to use for future trips than others. The more exotic currencies will not be useful for future trips unless you are confident that you will return to those countries. More common currencies such as the USD, British Pound or Euros are more useful for future trips.
Just don’t do what I do – I never think about taking this foreign currency on a trip until I am already sitting on the plane waiting to depart. If you have a checklist to help with the planning of your trips, add checking your leftover foreign currency as a step to follow. This way your pile of leftover currency should reduce over time as you take trips.
2. Donating to a worthy cause
Some airports have kiosks or bins where you can donate your leftover foreign currency to a charity. Certain airlines collect leftover foreign currency in flight to donate to charities. In the UK, travellers can submit a form with their leftover currency to charities such as the Theodora Children’s Charity.
3. Sell your leftover currency back
Some foreign exchange kiosks such as Travelex offers to buy back excess foreign currency at the rate you bought it from them without charging a commission.
4. Top up your Starbucks card
Most airports have at least one Starbucks. Use your excess foreign currency to top up your Starbucks card for use at Starbucks shops all over the world.
5. Cash the leftover currency in at a kiosk
In certain airports TravelersBox has kiosks where you can take your excess foreign currency and transfer it to PayPal, a Starbucks card or several other options.
6. Use it for last-minute shopping in the airport
In my department whenever someone goes on a work trip, it is a tradition to buy a bag of small chocolate or candies to distribute to colleagues when we get back to the office. You can also treat yourself to a nice meal or a drink before boarding your plane for the flight home.
7. Create art with your leftover currency
Use your leftover notes and coins to make jewellery or art pieces. Need some inspiration? How about making a world map with coins from different countries?
8. Keep it as a souvenir.
Excess foreign currency is useful for a souvenir. Looking at the currency may bring back memories of your trip. Why not start a coin collection?
9. Pay last minute expenses
Use your leftover foreign currency as a tip for the housekeeping staff of the hotel you stayed at. Alternatively, ask the hotel if you can use it to contribute to your payment, just pay the remaining amount with your credit card. You can also use it for a taxi ride to the airport.
10. Buy cryptocurrency
Amsterdam was the first city to have a cryptocurrency ATM in their airport. There are cryptocurrency ATMs in many countries across the world. Consider using your leftover foreign currency to buy cryptocurrency, just remember these are volatile to invest in.
What do you do with leftover currency when you return home after a trip? Please share any ideas!