What to do with leftover foreign currency

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What To Do With Your Leftover Foreign Currency

19th February 2020

A moment of silence for all of the foreign currency mindlessly tossed aside at the end of a trip. 

I know I’m not the only one that has unpacked my bags from a trip and stared at a pile of leftover foreign currency wondering what on earth to do with it. Quite often it’s thrown into ‘the drawer’. Everyone has one. The perfect resting place for things that don’t really have a specific home; a graveyard for items that are no longer useful, but aren’t useless enough to be thrown in the bin. 

Depending on how well you budgeted and planned your expenses (we have a budget planner if you need help with that, FYI), you can be left with a few measly coins and a crumpled up note or a pretty decent pile of bills. 

The good news is, your leftover foreign currency does have a home – with us! Like an fx orphanage, give your unwanted notes and coins a new life at Travel Money Oz.  


Leftover Foreign Notes

Option 1 – Exchange them for Aussie dollars

Whether you’ve arrived home with a fist full of Polish Zloty or American Dollars, we love all foreign cash. In fact, there are over 60 different types of foreign money we’ll happily buy from you if you’ve managed to keep it in one piece (read: we probs won’t accept that manky $1 bill with one too many questionable stains). The best bit is that you’ll get Aussie dollars in return, perfect for kick-starting the savings for your next holiday. 

Selling your foreign currency back to Travel Money Oz is easy peasy:

Step 1: Take the foreign banknotes out of your pocket, wallet or sock drawer
Step 2: Bring those notes to your nearest Travel Money Oz store and exchange using the buy rate of the day. Don’t forget our Best Price Guarantee, if you find a better price we will beat it*.
Step 3: Sell your foreign currency for AUD (cha-ching)
Step 4: Deposit into your savings, go on a spending spree or buy more foreign currency for your next trip. 

The best time to exchange is when the Aussie dollar isn’t doing so great because it means you’ll get more bang for your buck – the opposite of when you want to purchase foreign currency. 

Option 2 – Spend up big at the airport

If you’ve clued on to your extra cash before boarding the plane to come home, there are a few ways to spend up big at the airport. 

Souvenirs: why not grab some last-minute mementos for friends, family or yourself? 
Magazines and books: kill time on the flight with a new murder mystery.
Starbucks cards: Rumour has it you can load up a Starbucks card and use it around the world at any of their cafes.
Eat: Let’s face it, plane food is pretty, well, plain. Wine and dine yourself at the airport, or challenge your travel buddies to see how many cheeseburgers you can eat. You may feel sick, but you may also be lulled into a food coma just in time for the flight. Win/Win really. 

Option 3 – Make a tiny hat for your cat 

A tiny origami hat made out of leftover foreign currency notes – cute and sun safe. 

Leftover Foreign Coins

Coming home with jingling pockets full of now seemingly useless coins can seem like a bit of a burden, but there are actually a few funky things you could be doing with your spare foreign change. Like:

Option 1 – Donate to UNICEF

We’ve partnered with the UNICEF program called Small Change, Big Difference, where 100% of all coin donations go towards essential resources for children in need. According to UNICEF estimates, there could be over $800 million worth of foreign currency coins sitting in random drawers around Australia. That’s a lot of resources lying dormant in ‘the drawer’. This initiative collects unwanted foreign coins and uses them to protect and enrich the lives of children around the world.

Even a couple of coins can make a profound impact, allowing a child to survive and thrive. For example:

  • 1 UK penny = one day of clean drinking water.
  • 65 euro cents = a pencil and book for school.
  • 243 Thai baht = 20 doses of life-saving measles vaccine.

Donate your foreign coins to this program at any Travel Money Oz store and discover how your small change can make a big difference.

Option 2 – Spend up big at airport vending machines

Foreign vending machines are a whole new world to explore. We’ve written a blog all about global vending machines, so be sure to check it out and let us know if you find any other hidden gems in the big bad vending machine world. 

Option 3 – Use the coins to decorate your house

There’s a story told in Cuba about one of the old sugar barons who was so wealthy that he decided to cover the floors of his home in gold coins. When told this wasn’t allowed because people would effectively be walking on the face of the king on the currency, he turned each coin on its side and laid them side by side like that throughout his mansion. 

You probably won’t come home from holidays that ballin’, but coins can be easily made into wind chimes, magnets and other cool decorations, serving as the perfect memory of your epic trip. 

What about money left on my Currency Pass?

We’re glad you asked! Luckily the Currency Pass is designed precisely for these types of moments. We know that Aussies don’t usually stop at one holiday, which is why your Currency Pass is valid for up to 5 years with no inactivity fees. This means you can leave your foreign currency on your Currency Pass no sweat, or you can transfer it back to AUD and withdraw it for a small fee.

This blog is provided for information only and does not take into consideration your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether the information and suggestions contained in any blog entry are appropriate for you, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs. While we take reasonable care in providing the blog, we give no warranties or representations that it is complete or accurate, or is appropriate for you. We are not liable for any loss caused, whether due to negligence or otherwise, arising from use of, or reliance on, the information and/or suggestions contained in this blog.