What do you do with left over foreign currency?

Travel Forums General Talk What do you do with left over foreign currency?

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1. Posted by Teoni (Travel Guru 1552 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

I just finished up a trip where I over estimated how many Pacific Francs I needed in French Polynesia I thought of exchanging them to another currency but the rate was crap and the fee too much So instead I chose to go on a spending spree at Papeete duty free Anyway got some nice stuff and used up all my money

But I am curious what does everyone else do when you find more money left over in your pocket than expected? Does everyone else to the duty free spend or do you keep it in the plan or hope to return? Or maybe you guys know some tips on how to exchange obscure currencies into useful currencies;)?

2. Posted by Kathrin_E (Travel Guru 630 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

If there is a chance that I'll return to the country in foreseeable future, I keep it. It's always good to have a bit of small cash in hand upon arrival.

If not - as you said, shopping spree. Preferably already on the last day in town, not at the airport.

And I like to keep one of each denomination for the collection, which in fact consists of a piggy bank full of foreign coins.

3. Posted by ToonSarah (Travel Guru 1377 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

If I don't think I'll use it again, then shopping is the answer! I usually do this at the airport, to minimise extra carrying, but I came up against a problem quite recently, returning from Marrakesh. Once through security I found that all the shops refused to take the local dirhams - payment had to be in dollars, euros or with plastic! And there were no foreign exchange facilities airside either so I couldn't even opt to take the hit on the poor rate I might have got. I therefore have a small stash of dirham should we ever go back to Morocco!

If it's just small change I look for one of those schemes some airports have, to collect any left over currency for charities, and some airlines have this too.

4. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 2367 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Like Sarah, I've come across several airports where cash payment post-security is only in euro or USD.

I simply don't 'do' shopping whether I'm on a trip or not so any currency I've got left over is either kept for next time if it's e.g. euro or USD or changed back into GBP once I'm home, (though that's very rare nowadays because I'm pretty good at knowing what cash I'll spend).

If it's only a small amount I'll either use the charity donation point which most airports have, the charity envelope many airlines supply on the plane or donate to a UK charity once I'm home. Quite a few UK charities accept donations of foreign coins & notes.

[ Edit: Edited on 19-Jul-2018, at 10:28 by leics2 ]

5. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 1922 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

My main problem is finding the currency to turn it in or spend. My travel companions (who are often 12 to 13 year old children) will have some that they will have forgotten about. I don't mind have leftover Euros but I was really irritated when I found we had leftover rubles.

6. Posted by Piecar (Inactive 1218 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

I always have some left over foreign cash on hand. I came across an airport once, where you had to have airport tax money all of a sudden, in local currency. So I had to troop over to a gonsarned ATM to get some. Irritating. There is a place here in Van that deals with all, and I mean ALL currencies, I change it there if I amass a bunch of different stuff.
Pocket change, I keep a couple of different coins to show around or hang onto....(hmmm, I guess this is the souvenir I swore I didn't go for, whoops) The rest, I keep in a little case. When I go on a trip, I pick out a bunch of different coins from a place I guess that country's populace would seldom or ever visit, and I leave the coins around in weird spots for people to find and wonder over. My logic is that I would like it if I found a random weird coin on the street or something.

I don't donate any of it to the airport thing because I don't know where that airport money goes. It's a decent idea, but I prefer knowing whether that money actually gets to where it says it's going.

7. Posted by Borisborough (Moderator 1586 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Piecar - I have the equivalent of NZD 86 in Rawandan somethings (43 000 francs?) from two years ago that I can't change anywhere - will your place change them????

8. Posted by Piecar (Inactive 1218 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Borisborough. I don't see why not. They say they deal in everything.

9. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1729 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

We keep it for the next trip. We don't keep much cash so it doesn't make much difference. We keep Paris Metro tickets too. They're good nearly forever even if rates go up.

10. Posted by Cottonwood (Respected Member 535 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

I actually kept a Grand Cayman $5 note from a trip in 1981 and never thought I would return and almost forgot about it when I did a cruise to there years later in like 2008. Just enough to buy some postcards and stamps and donate the change to a local friends nephews piggy bank.

Of course, how many can say they have currency to a country that is no longer around? I came home with currency to what use to be Yugoslavia back in June 1987 on a trip I did sailing between Split and Dubrovnik. CAN'T use that anymore. It's now with my collection in my fire safe box.