Left untended, leftover currency can mount up.
Last month, on my way to Scotland, I donated a large baggie of change and bills to Air Transat’s leftover currency charity. I’d collected it over time. I couldn’t throw it out! It was an easy solution.
When flying out to Ireland last spring I noticed a new kiosk at the airport. It allows you to dump your foreign currency into the machine and deposit the value, less a percentage or with an unfavorable exchange rate, into an account of your choice. You pay for the convenience but then, it is convenient.
I keep the leftover currency for countries to which I expect to return. However there are other countries that the prospect of returning is less likely. It’s not that I wouldn’t like to go back to India, Chile, China… it’s just that it’s a big world! There are many places to go making it unlikely that I’ll repeat myself with some countries.
So what do you do with leftover currency? Here are six choices for you to consider.
6 Ways to Manage Leftover Currency
- Donate it to charity. Like Air Transat mentioned above, there are airlines and some airports that help you donate your leftover currency to charity either by collecting it on the plane or having donation boxes in the terminal. Most charities I’ve seen have had something to do with the care of children. How can you argue with that?
- Use it towards your final hotel bill. It’s unlikely that your loose change will pay for a hotel night but the hotel is always happy to collect it as a partial payment for your room. Pay the balance on your credit card.
- Tuck it away with your passport. You may visit some countries often. If this is the case, just hang on to your leftover currency. I always keep my US, UK and European notes in the same place I keep my passport. This way I never miss the fact that I have some cash to take with me.
- Starbucks can help. There are Starbucks coffee shops all over the world. Here’s their store locator. If you have a Starbucks card you can have it topped up with your remaining local currency before leaving the country.
- Cash it in at a kiosk. TravelersBox is the currency exchange kiosk I saw at Pearson International Airport in Toronto. This is a fairly new service and they are only in 9 airports as I write this. Being located at the airport makes them very convenient. As you can see in the photo, you can deposit your money in your PayPal account, onto your Starbucks card, in your Skype Account and nine other places.
- Return it to the place you bought it. It’s not common but some places like Travelex offer to buy back you currency. Know whether this is an option before you buy your currency.
So what do you do with your leftover currency? Please share in the comments.