Travel Abroad Often? Tips to Make the Best Use of Spare Foreign Currency

Research has revealed that British families have collectively accumulated more than £1.8billion worth of foreign currency collected during their travels abroad. This works out to £65 per family on average and it most often consists of US Dollars and Euros, with Swiss Francs coming up third. Strangely enough, many of the 27.1 million households in the United Kingdom have small stashes of pre-euro currencies as well. These include Deutschmarks, Pesetas, French Francs, Lire and Irish Pounds.

If your family has been vacationing abroad then you’ve very likely got your own cache of foreign currency you can’t really put to any use (apart from adding them to a coin or currency collection). However, it’s a popular misconception to believe that the money is entirely worthless even if specific currencies are no longer legal tender in the country of their origin. There are a few companies that will buy your leftover currencies, irrespective of whether they are legal or illegal tender. Unsusedtravelmoney.com and Leftover Currency are two of these companies.

Mario Van Poppel, director of Leftover Currency pointed out that most people were unaware of the value of the currencies lying around at home. The company exchanges notes and coins alike, even accepting withdrawn notes from within and outside the EU. Interestingly, many foreign exchange services will not deal with some of these notes.
Considering that you probably have anything up to £100 lying around at home in these currencies, it makes a lot of sense for you to find out what they are actually worth. All you have to do is contact the company to get an online quote for your notes and coins. You can then complete the transaction and clear out your travel drawer for some hard cash. Even so, it is necessary to point out that it is easier to exchange notes than coins.

Bad Rates at Airport Bureaux de Change

You’ve probably been exchanging the bulk of your leftover foreign notes at airport bureaux d change. These shops are well located from the point of view of exhausted travellers but they have a well-deserved reputation for being cheats. Not only do they offer bad rates of exchange but they also have a shocking lack of transparency concerning fees. If you use these services then you’ll probably find yourself short-changed by a whopping 20% because they don’t mention their buy back rates very clearly. There also tend to be many terms and conditions that restrict how much money you can actually exchange.

Plan Before You Travel

Its best to avoid having leftover currency when you get back from your trip but you can’t always manage your foreign spends down to the last note. After all, you might misjudge how much you eventually spend, or better still, you might have great success getting bargains and discounts!

What you should do, therefore is the following:

  • Have a buy back agreement with your foreign currency provider in which you fix the exchange rate to your satisfaction. Many companies do offer these deals but they have costs associated with them. You’ll also have to go through the terms and conditions very carefully, especially with regards to how many days the buy back offer is available for.
  • Get a prepaid card loaded with the currency of your destination so that you can spend I at your convenience. You could also go so far as to load the card at a time when the exchange rate is in you favour. This is actually a very good option if you travel a lot since you can just keep the card handy for your next trip abroad.