Dealing With Leftover Travel Money

Travel money: Dealing with leftover foreign currency?

By Matt Fernell, Editor-in-Chief at Last updated 30th April 2024.

Matt Fernell

Most of us have returned from a holiday with leftover travel money, which can often sit in a draw for years after your trip.

The good news is there are ways to deal with your unspent travel money. Here is how you can make use of any unspent foreign notes.

What to do with my leftover travel money?

Here are the three main ways to deal with leftover foreign currency:

  1. If you plan to visit a country that accepts that currency, you can keep it for your next trip. Just keep it safe so you can access it easily the next time you need it.
  2. You can find a high street travel money provider and exchange it back into pound sterling.
  3. Should you prefer to give it away, you can give it to your friends or family who are taking a trip to a country that accepts your leftover foreign currency. You can also donate them to your preferred charity.

Exchanging your currency back

You can convert the leftover currency back if you don't have plans to take a trip soon.

However, if you see that the exchange rate is lower than when you first converted, you will get back less money. In this case, it may be worth keeping hold of it and trying to exchange it at a later date when the rate is better.

Waiting to exchange your cash is not always the best idea, as exchange rates could go down further, and many providers won't exchange low-value notes or coins.

Remember, when converting your foreign currency back to pounds, you could be charged exchange fees, which will also decrease the value of your cash.

What is buyback?

Buyback allows you to swap unused foreign money back into a pound sterling after your travel.

The same with buying foreign currency; you'll be offered an exchange rate. This means you can either get more or less in terms of offers.

Guaranteed buyback

Guaranteed buyback allows you to sell your foreign currency at the same rate as when you first exchanged it. This process is not for free; it will cost you up to £4 for a guaranteed buyback.

If the rates increase when you want to exchange your foreign money, you can look for deals that help you save more than having a guaranteed buyback.

Could you keep it for your next trip?

Suppose you plan to visit the same country or take a trip to another country that accepts your leftover currency. In that case, you can keep the foreign currency instead. By keeping it for your next trip, you can avoid paying for exchange fees and other charges.

Could you sell it to friends or family?

Giving away your leftover currency to family or friends means not getting any money back. Instead, you can try the following options:

  1. Exchanging any leftover travel money from each other's overseas trips as a standing deal that can help you avoid the exchange costs.
  2. Selling your money to friends or family can help you avoid charges when using a company.

Donating it to charity

You can also donate your leftover holiday travel money to a charity that accepts the foreign currency.

Another option is giving it to airlines that accept foreign coin donations during return flights to the UK. Some of which are in airports collection points.

Tips for your next trip

It can save you time and hassle if you can avoid having any leftover foreign currency. If you use cash, make sure that you stick to your budget and take a bit more just in case you tend to overspend.

When using your card, you have to inform your provider that you'll be using your card abroad to avoid restrictions on your card and the possibility of being blocked.

You could also try using a prepaid travel card or a travel credit card to avoid having leftover travel money and prevent you from carrying large amounts of cash when travelling.

The information provided does not constitute financial advice, it’s always important to do your own research to ensure a financial product is right for your circumstances. If you’re unsure you should contact an independent financial advisor.