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Many people make resolutions heading into the new year, and from a travelers perspective this may be to travel more, seek out immersive experiences, or even learn a new language. Though for me, this new year meant cleaning the house. Tidying up our garage, donating clothes, and cleaning out some old drawers. And it’s quite amazing what you find when you clear out your old draws!

Like $450 in forgotten cash.

You’re probably wondering how it’s possible to just “forget” about $450 in your sock drawer. That money represents a flight, a couple of nights at a hotel, or even a couple of weeks throughout a cheap country in South East Asia.

And it probably sounds quite privileged to have just left that sort of money lying around. But I’m not able to spend it. My problem is that my $450 is in Turkish Lira. And Euro. And Pounds. And Canadian Dollars. And Czech Koruna. And honestly there are a lot of coins and bank notes that I don’t even recognize!

How to Convert Your Leftover Travel Money into Actual Cash

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If there’s one thing which all travelers have in common, it’s left over currency at the end of a trip. Unless you’re meticulous at forecasting travel costs and only withdraw the precise amount of cash you’ll need, (and let’s be honest, nobody is that good), it’s likely you’ll return home with a pocket full of rubles or yen.

And you could waste it on a $10 toblerone at the airport, or throw coins towards your hotel bill at the end, but most of us stick it in a jar and forget all about it. And heck, it’s actually fun to collect foreign currency; to keep it as a souvenir from the countries we visit. To have exotic coins on hand.

Sometimes it’s only a couple of dollars, sometimes it could be up to 30. But over 10 years of travel, all of that leftover currency adds up, and if you’ve been adding to your own jar over the years, you’ve probably got hundreds of dollars sitting there too.

How to Exchange Mixed Foreign Coins and Bank Notes

The problem here is quite obvious. You’re going to be on the receiving end of a very hostile bank teller if you rock up with a billion mixed foreign coins. And it’s the new year. Nobody deserves that kind of hate. In fact, banks probably won’t exchange it for you period. They’re always keen to sell us currency but are never too keen to take back the bits that are left.

But after figuring out that I had too much money to feel comfortable calling it a “souvenir”, I began researching how I could exchange all of my mixed coins. How to turn it into actual cash I could spend. Because surely it couldn’t be that difficult to exchange spare coins and obsolete notes.

Just as I was surprised by how much useless money I had accumulated, I was equally as surprised to actually find a company who would change it for me. I found a reliable, trustworthy source to exchange our old currency, called Leftover Currency.

If there’s one thing which all travelers have in common, it’s left over currency at the end of a trip. And over time we accumulate it. Ever wondered how much all that foreign currency is worth?

How Leftover Currency Works

The team at Leftover Currency has years of experience trading international currencies. And they have an amazing website which makes it really simple to figure out how much your coins are worth, and then exchange it.

Step 1: Find out which banknotes and coins the company accepts for exchange. The complete list of exchangeable currencies and exchange rates is here. They exchange leftover cash for more than 50 different currencies, both circulating and obsolete.

Step 2: You can either download and print the exchange form, or do everything online. The online version is easy … as you add different currencies, the site creates an “online wallet”, which adds up your different coins and tells you how much cash you will receive. When ready, click on ‘Cash in now’. Fill in your details online. Choose a payment method. Make a note of the reference number.

Step 3:  Send your currency by post to London (remember to get tracking). Include your filled out paper exchange form or your online reference number. They pay you within 5 days via Bank Transfer, PayPal or a check.

Things to Note

Though based in the UK, the service is available for international customers, and reading through their reviews, they’ve helped people from all continents exchange their leftover currency for cash.

If you don’t care for the money yourself and want to donate it to charity, Leftover Currency will donate the complete exchange value, and will even add an extra 5% on top.

They are a registered money service business, so even though it takes good faith and trust to send in currency prior to payment, they have an excellent reputation for always honoring that trust. You can tell by scanning the Leftover Currency reviews on the independent review site Trustpilot. And they have a great FAQ page which answers any doubts.

So, I’m genuinely interested … how much is in your jar of leftover travel cash?

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Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; a website dedicated to opening your eyes to the wild & natural world.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

Photo credits: Images Money via TaxRebate.org.uk

    30 Comments

  1. I keep a ziploc with each currency so next trip bring with me. I also have coin/note collection (intentional) of Italian lire, French francs, Greek drachma etc from first travels.
    I donate coins on flight or airport.
    As for notes, I go to Europe and UK yearly so can always spend it
    I usually pay all by credit card where I can except Australia with dumb credit card fees.

    • Ziploc bags are a great way to keep currency organized, especially if you know you’re heading back to the same destination. I love that, I usually keep my pounds and Euros as well, and then always have train money when I arrive at the airport, it’s great!

      Donating coins on flights is a great option too … such a fantastic initiative for the airlines to have established.

      If you’re not too attached to your old European currencies, I believe Leftover Currency will accept most of them too :)

  2. This is a frequent issue food is too though these days when we check out of the last hotel we use at much currency as we need to use up can towards the bill and just keep a little for the airport and any hours before we head out.

    • We usually try to keep a little for the airport too, and figure if we don’t spend it on food there are always those donation boxes around the terminal or on the plane :)

      Great idea though if you’ve got a lot of it left and prepaid for your hotel room, to send it into a company which will convert it for you :)

  3. This is really awesome! We have quite a bit of leftover currency laying around too, so we just have it organized by destination for when we hopefully return. I always love finding extra Euros before a trip to Europe–it’s a nice bonus! I’ll definitely have to look into this for some of our other currencies thoigh!

    • Totally agree with you on the Euros! It’s always nice finding a little stash of them before leaving for another trip! Though you’re much more organized than us as our coins usually end up mixed in together so it’s quite the task to sort them out lol!

  4. This is such a great idea. I’m one of those people who have tons of foreign money lying in my drawers. I’m definitely going to look into exchanging it with Leftover Currency. I’ve tweeted and pinned the article too.

    • Thanks for the shares Sara, appreciate it! :) Hope you make some cash!

  5. What’s wrong with an overpriced airport Toblerone? Is Toblerone only available in airports? Seriously, you don’t want to waste your old currencies, not so much of an issue with Euros or Dollars but what do you do with the less common ones in your drawer. This could be the solution and they take coins which is good.

    • Haha overpriced airport Toblerone … I can’t believe the mark up on half the food in airports, it’s ridiculous! But thats it … even though we might be leaving and not likely to return anytime soon, it still feels like a waste to just throw the currency at something like that.

      Now we have a solution for getting it changed back! :)

  6. Never heard of this! I think this is super clever! I have a big plastic bag with all my currencies and I’m going to have a look for sure! Thanks for the tips! By the way, I love your new logo!

    • Glad we could introduce you! And thanks re the logo! We’re remodelling the site, so an exciting homepage coming soon too!

      Hope that big plastic bag produces some money for your next trip!

  7. That is pretty useful options. I have recently converted some currency into That Bhat. Will have to check my options once I am back from Thailand.

    • Have a wonderful time in Thailand Gokul :) And definitely consider Leftover Currency if you have cash left over after your trip :)

  8. You don’t know how useful this is to me! I have so much money laying around in foreign currencies!

    • So glad we could introduce you to Leftover Currency then! Who knows, there’s probably enough there to fund your spending money on the next trip!

  9. Most of the time, I keep my remaining money for food in the airport. However, you are right, when I cleaned out my desk, I have tons of bills still left in various currencies. It’s too small to have changed but also in total, it can sum up. I guess I have to do figure out how to deal with this more wisely.

    • Jump over to the Leftover Currency site then; they make it really easy to add up what you’ve got :)

  10. I am never left with enough currencies at the end of my travel which I cant use again in my next trip. However this is an Interesting service by this company.

    • We’re the same with the exception of pounds, usd and Euro; everything else is usually too small to have changed but also in total, it can sum up :)

  11. This is so good to know! It’s true that it’s almost impossible not to come back with some leftover foreign currency (even after buying that ridiculously huge Toblerone at the airport!). It’s great that they also offer to donate it to charity on top of adding 5%. Thanks for sharing!

    • Haha exactly … even after buying that ridiculously huge Toblerone at the airport :D

      Yes, I love that they offer 5% on top for charity too … businesses with a strong community focus for giving back always grab my attention :)

  12. Waste $10 on toblerone at the airport – I wouldn’t mind ever! Just Kidding! We usually keep a few coins as souvenirs and sometimes when huge amount is left, get it exchanged from a local agency!

    • We do the same :) Amazing how quickly those small denominations of coins can add up though!!

  13. I actually started collecting global currency as a child when my dad would come back from a trip and give me his leftover coins and bills. To this day I continue to add to the stash from my own travels. I didn’t realize how much I had until I pulled them out to take a photo of it. I even have Peruvian intis that haven’t been in circulation since 1991 lol. I’m not sure if I would want to trade it in…maybe if I really needed the money. At least I am now aware of this option! Thanks!

    • Very cool! So fantastic to have started a collection as a child and then continued it into adulthood from your own trips :) I imagine the sentimental value is probably worth more than the actual coins themselves in this case :)

      Glad we could introduce you to LeftOver Currency though! Happy travels :)

  14. We can give leftover money to our family of friends as souvenir.

    • I do the same with small coins – my nephew loves them :)

  15. One of my friends have a turkey 5000000 lira and he wants to change it immediately haw we can do it.

    • Hi Mohammed, with that much money I would change it an an actual bank, or currency exchange like OFX.

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