leftover foreign currency

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by TheBeerHunter, Apr 3, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. TheBeerHunter
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    TheBeerHunter Silver Member

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    What do you do with your leftover currency from your travels?

    It used to be, I'd try hard to spend it at the airport before we left, but I ended up buying overpriced junk I didn't really want or need. I went through a phase of trying to exchange it all before I came home, but then realized I tended to return to some of these places a lot and usually airport exchange places don't give the best rates anyway, so decided to just hang on to whatever I have left over from a trip.

    If I am awake/alert enough to think about it, I often do give some to the collections they do on international flights.

    But that still leaves me with baggies (and baggies...and baggies) of bills & coins from all our trips around the world. This sometimes is really useful (and surprising): I am heading to Singapore this week, and dug out my stash of Singapore money, and was surprised to find that I had the equivalent of about $80 US. It made me think that maybe I ought to make a spreadsheet up so I can see just how much I have in various currencies.

    This might be an interesting way of hedging against the dollar. ;)

    What do you do with your leftover foreign currency from traveling?
     
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  2. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    It depends on where the currency is from and how much... I have a couple of bucks from the Bahamas and other Caribbean countries from my last visit, and I'll usually hang on to them for mementos, just like I do with hotel keys and other stuff.

    But if it's serious money from a place I'm going back to soon-ish, then I'll hang on to it with the intention of using it. Last trip to Amsterdam I had about €100 leftover and I'm not getting rid of that any time soon.

    Of course this all depends on whether you're gonna use the money soon, because who knows when some country might decide to do something with their money. If you have a box full of Francs or Deutschmarks, it's not quite as valuable as you may think. :)
     
  3. autolycus

    autolycus Gold Member

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    If I have < $20-30 worth, I often keep it as a souvenir, especially if it's somewhere I haven't been before or if the currency is unique in any way. For something like euros, I have tended to unload most of it at the last hotel I stay at. I try to leave myself €20-30 for incidentals on the way to or at the airport, and figure it might help next time I go so I'm not stuck using airport currency exchanges if I can't find a working ATM at the airport.

    At the end of this month, I'm almost certainly going to end up with some HUF (Hungarian Forint), which I will probably use for tips on the river cruise boat. The euros from the trip will be handled according to my above trend.
     
  4. KathInJax

    KathInJax Silver Member

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    I have baggies for Euros, Canadian $ and GBP and I usually try to come home with at least $20 - $30 in those currencies. I have had trouble finding ATM's at some airports, so it makes it easier to have something on hand when I arrive in those countries.

    Anything other currencies, I try to use up before I leave the country. I try to plan out my cash spending so that I do not have much left over. If there is a collection on the flight - I definitely make sure to drop the leftovers into the collection.
     
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  5. Jeff the Wanderer

    Jeff the Wanderer Silver Member

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    I was going through our stash of foreign currency just the other day to see if we had anything that was still useful. I was excited to find a 50 Euro bill that will come in handy when we get to Paris on Thursday. Other than that, I was quite sad because I didn't realize how much we had of other European pre-Euro currencies. When added up, it would have been a few hundred dollars.

    Of course, I also have some amusing money like our leftovers from a trip to Zimbabwe in 1996. I have low end bills and coins that would have been completely useless in recent years. I actually have a couple of Zimbabwe pennies. Not sure they would have paid for much when there were multi-million dollar bills being used.
     
  6. cvarming
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    cvarming Silver Member

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    Say you did end up with Deutsch Marks, just make a short visit to a bank next time you are in Germany. They should exchange them at the fixed rate DM 1.95583 = €1.
     
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  7. harvson3

    harvson3 Silver Member

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    If you go to any AA Admirals' Club, you can drop off any foreign currency at the front desk and they'll contribute it to UNICEF. It's an option for those who aren't taking an international AA flight anytime soon.
     
  8. PointHoarder
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    PointHoarder Silver Member

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    If you're in a country with Starbucks, you can always do the Starbucks card reload trick:
    http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/starbucks-tips-and-tricks.4021/

     
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  9. DTWBOB

    DTWBOB Silver Member

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    It depends on how soon I'll be going back to that country -- we live north of Canada (for real), so always keep some loonies and toonies for the next trip to Ontario.

    DTWBON
     
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  10. kw335
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    kw335 Silver Member

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    I recently dined at a local Indonesian restaurant in the neighborhood. Realized that I had some rupiah bills in my wallet, I gave them as a tip. They were delighted to have them - not so much due to the values of the bills, but they appreciated the gesture.
     
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  11. misterbwong

    misterbwong Silver Member

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    Agree with most others. If it's a changeable amount and I'm not going to be back in the country for a while, I just take the hit at the airport and exchange there. If it's a few (US) cents, I'll just keep it in my drawer.
     
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  12. Andyandy
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    Andyandy Gold Member

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    I always keep mine as I rarely have more than $50 equiv. left over. I like having a little on hand for the next trip! I don't know when I'll have the need for Zlotys or Forints again, but I've got 'em.

    If I wanted to liquidate, I'd consider Ebay. I've purchased a few lots of Euro and GBP coins when getting ready for a trip. I never bid more than the exchange rate, but some people do. I've seen lots of plain old circulated coins go for well over face. Can't explain it, wont try. :D

    Or you could just declutter send those baggies to me!

    Andyandy
     
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  13. autolycus

    autolycus Gold Member

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    I'll take your forints and put them to good use at the end of the month... just mail to:
    Autolycus
    123 Peachtree Rd.
    Atlanta, GA....
    :D
     
  14. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    In AMS, I bought chocolate. I said I had change + €20 (credit card budget) to spend, and we figured it out. It was yumtastic.

    I do try to keep one coin (€1 or $1 or equivalent denomination) as a token to "go back," as it were.
     
  15. TheBeerHunter
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    TheBeerHunter Silver Member

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    Isn't it fun to find money? I'm the dork you see who picks up pennies off the sidewalk, though, too.
     
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  16. TheBeerHunter
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    TheBeerHunter Silver Member

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    That's just it, and why I keep the baggies: because I never do know when I'll be back! I was able to use some old Forints just a couple of weeks ago, and I never thought I'd be back in Hungary anytime soon.
     
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  17. Andyandy
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    Andyandy Gold Member

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    I resemble that remark. I always glance at the grocery store change machine as I walk by as well. Last week I bent down to pick up what I thought was a penny. Turned out to be a 2 pfennig. I'll save it for when the Euro implodes.
     
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  18. TheBeerHunter
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    TheBeerHunter Silver Member

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    Oh no! Hopefully you don't live anywhere near me. :p I don't want competition for checking the change trays at the self-checkout kiosks at my local Safeway (I find SO MUCH MONEY in those things, it's not funny!)
     
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  19. Seacarl
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    Seacarl Gold Member

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    Travel in Europe is a heck of a lot easier now that so many countries use the Euro.

    I tend to keep most currency and coins unless I know I am not coming back to a country. I keep them in baggies. It is always nice to arrive with some change in hand, and either not to have to exchange at all on arrival, or at least to have smaller currency than you'll likely get from the ATM

    I think that was true for a few years, but now you can only go to special branches to make the exchange, not just the nearest retail bank. While I exchanged some of my European money after introduction of the Euro, I still have Italian lira, Greek drachma, etc. I kind of think its interesting for curiosity sake.

    I did have an interesting experience in Japan recently where I gave a relatively young clerk at 10,000 yen note and she didn't recognize it and had to go back to talk to a manager to have it authenticated. Apparently the design of the note changed about 8 years ago and the young lady must have never seen an old one before. But once verified it was accepted.
     
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  20. loudnotes

    loudnotes Silver Member

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    The spread at retail forex brokers like Travelex in the airport is horrendous, but personally I think it compares well to storing cash. You give up 5-10% in fair value when you do the conversion, but unless you're about to return to the foreign country soon, you'll do better cashing out rather than absorbing a few years' inflation+depreciation (depends on the currency!) on your hoard.
     
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  21. craz
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    craz Silver Member

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    With the exception of the Euro and Shekel (Israel) I usually dump all my currency when paying off my last hotel bill (except for what I need to get to the airport)This is for both paper and coin and then I tell them to charge the rest owed to the CC I gave them when I checked in. Never was told Sorry we cant do that, if all I have is worth < $1US I dont bother but that hasnt happened in a long time
     
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  22. mht_flyer
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    mht_flyer Gold Member

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    Some is hanging up on my office door frame. In my wallet now.... 51 Qatari Riyals and 5 Canadian
     
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  23. zphelj

    zphelj Gold Member

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    I let it pile up in my fire safe on the hope I'm heading back soon!

    If it gets to be a problem I go into my bank and the teller sorts it out. Love the Starbucks idea though. Sounds like a good excuse to make a MR back to those countries to me.
     
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  24. perryplatypus

    perryplatypus Gold Member

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    With all this extra misc currency lying around on MP maybe we can take up an on going collection and support the boards different charities?
     
  25. Mapsmith
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    Mapsmith Gold Member

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    Let me know if you decide to do coins. I am always finding various US 25 Cent sized foreign coins in my cash register. Mainly, Italian Lira, and some strange Chinese Coin, and a few Indian, and Indonesian. Since they are all the same size as the US Quarter, they seem to come mixed in the rolls.
     
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