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.

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