What to Do With Leftover Currency? | 7 Tips for Dealing with Unused Notes & Coins

Hey, it’s Ernest from Trip Astute. In
this video, we’re answering a common question asked by almost all
international travelers, “what do I do with the leftover currency from my trip?” (light chiming music) You know the drill. You come back from an
international trip and you still have some unused cash or coins.
I feel like this happens all the time. I think a lot of times too, I’ll put my
change in my backpack when going to the airport only to find it days later. So
today, we’re talking about the best ways to deal with leftover foreign currency.
Before we get started, I just wanted to mention to some of our new viewers that we
are a travel channel that is focused on sharing ways to make travel easier,
affordable, and more enjoyable. Traveling can be stressful and expensive, so we’re
looking for ways to help you maximize your experience through travel tips,
points and miles, and innovative gear. As many of you know, I’m a big advocate of
using your credit cards whenever possible, even when traveling. Of course,
you want to make sure they use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees
and also pay in the local currency if given the choice. But as you know,
there are some places and situations where you have to use cash. There’s just
no way around it. So, let’s jump into some ways to deal with your leftover currency.
Number 1: Exchange it. It may seem really logical to just exchange your
foreign currency, but it can be tough. You could try and use the foreign currency
exchange booth at the airport, but just know that you’ll be getting an
unfavorable exchange rate, and usually charged a conversion fee. Also, you can try
taking it to a bank, but most will only accept certain currencies and they often
won’t accept coins. Many banks also have a minimum amount and will charge a fee
for the conversion. Unless you’ve got a lot of cash left over, I don’t recommend
going this route. There are other options when it comes to
exchanging your money. Apparently, casinos are a great place to exchange money as
they tend to take a lot of different currencies and we’ll give you a great
rate. I’ve personally never done it, but if you live near a casino, it might be worth
trying. The last way that I know is to use a service like
Leftover Currency. It seems like a lot of travelers have used it and the reviews
seem to be solid. You basically fill out an exchange form, mail your currency, and
then you receive your money electronically through electronic
transfer, PayPal, or check. The types of currencies are limited, but it definitely
seems like a great way to get a better deal than the exchange booths. The
company doesn’t charge a fee either and their exchange rates are competitive.
Mailing currency does seem to be a bit risky, but based on the reviews, people
seem to rate the service highly. Number 2: Apply it to your final hotel bill. If
you’re ending your overseas trip, you might want to ask the hotel whether you
can pay part of your bill with your remaining cash and coins. Most hotels
will honor the request. You may still need some currency if you’re planning to
take a taxi that doesn’t accept credit cards or you need to pay a departure fee.
However, in most cases, this is probably one of the easiest ways to get rid of
your currency before heading home. Number 3: Donate it. A great way to get
rid of your leftover currency is to donate it. Many airlines and airport
lounges will collect donations, specifically for programs like UNICEF’s
“Change for Good”. Another great option is to donate it to your local school
district. Currency can often be used to help kids learn about geography. Anything
that we can do to help teachers inspire and engage kids seems like a worthy
cause. Especially in the US, our teachers tend to be underpaid and
under-appreciated, so finding ways to help them, even through donating, is an
excellent option. Number 4: Load money on your Starbucks card. This is a great
tip that I got from Frugal Travel Guy. Most airports around the world have a
Starbucks, so you can usually ask the store to load up your Starbucks card.
Starbucks states that there are no transaction or conversion fees and that
the credit occurs in the original currency of the card. Assuming that there
aren’t any language or technical barriers, this could be an easy way to
exchange some of your currency. Number 5: Sell it on eBay. This is one method
that I saw recommended on some travel forums. It’s definitely legal but it
seems rather complicated in terms of proving the amounts and dealing with any
discrepancies. I personally don’t know that I would go this route, but I decided
to include it since I know people are doing it.
Number 6: Give it as a gift. When I was a kid, one of my uncles traveled around
the world for his job, and actually gave me a ton of his leftover currency. I
loved collecting them and it honestly made me curious about traveling to a lot
of countries. If there’s a young person in your life consider giving it to them
as a gift. It makes a great souvenir and may even inspire them in the future to
travel abroad to the same place. Number 7: Keep it! Whether it’s for
sentimental value or just in case you decide to visit a place again, it might
just make sense to keep it. There’s always a risk that your currency might
become outdated. For example, in many European countries that adopted the Euro,
there was a grace period to exchange the old currencies. Also, sometimes countries
will transition to new materials, which is what happened in the UK with their 20
pound notes. So, your currency might become outdated or obsolete, but for most
people, having some old currency is a good way to remember a trip and
hopefully encourage you to book another vacation. What do you do with your
leftover currency? Do you have any additional tips? Please let us know in
the comment section below. Thank you for watching this video. If you enjoyed it,
please give us a thumbs up and consider sharing our videos or channel with
others that might also benefit from our content. Until next time, travel safe and
travel smart.

18 thoughts on “What to Do With Leftover Currency? | 7 Tips for Dealing with Unused Notes & Coins

  1. I have one correction in this video! I accidentally referenced the £20 polymer notes in the UK, when it's actually the £5 notes. The £20 notes are scheduled to be released in the polymer material in the near future, though I apologize for the confusion!

  2. Israel has no Starbucks. It failed there. Great tips. My favorite is donating to homeless and for last minute duty free.

  3. a very very high fee at the airport. a Mall is a better idea. The Canadian 5 dollar bill use to have a hockey player on it now they have a Politian on it. I'm bummed out. I have mine in a drawer as a souvenoir however you spell it.

  4. Random thing I’ll do if I use a lounge in a airport I’ll leave a note under the plate and just tip what ever amount I got left (obviously if I had good service) or if not with my bank you can donate too charity’s

  5. I never would have thought about going to a casino with my leftover currency. Also never heard of the LeftoverCurrency site. I almost always keep my leftover currency as a souvenir, or donate it to Change For Good. A lot of airlines (e.g. KLM) have a Change for Good envelope in the seat pocket so you can do your donation that way. And once in a while I've been able to help a stranded fellow passenger by giving him/her my leftover local currency.

  6. Duty-free shops and some airport restaurants will allow you to pay in cash & credit card or even in multiple cash currencies. I like using my local currency and covering the small remaining amount with a credit card. Just don't ask if there is a long line behind you.

  7. This isn't technically about currency but when I went to Japan in 2016 I got a Suica card for the trains. When I was leaving Japan I still had approximately $30 worth of Yen loaded on it. Rather than stick it in my bag and hold onto it until my next trip I decided that it would be a nice gesture to give it to someone on one of the local trains. While traveling I try to do my best to represent the US in a positive light and I thought this was one more way to do that.

  8. Nice video! I usually just keep my currency bc I plan on visiting some places again! I do like that PayPal option you talked about though!

  9. I’ve still got virtually all of the 200 Euros left over from a trip to Berlin a few years ago with my school – my teaching assistant wouldn’t let me use any of it for some stupid reason. I’m now a graduate and still have those Euros somewhere!

  10. I love collecting currency. I love stopping by the currency exchange, even if I am not leaving the country! I have an amazing collection of notes. Have you seen Switzerland's new Francs. They look amazing!

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