By Matt Fernell, Editor-in-Chief at Finance.co.uk. Last updated 1st February 2023.
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 bill.
There's no need to be stressed thinking of what you can do with your spare travel money; here are the three main ways to deal with leftover foreign currency.
You can convert the leftover currency back if you don't have plans to visit or 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.
However, 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.
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 allows you to sell your foreign currency at the same rate during your first exchange. 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.
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.
Giving away your leftover currency to family or friends means not getting any money back. Instead, you can try the following options:
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.
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.