Spending left over foreign currency

Using Unspent Holiday Money

Cheap holidays are great, especially when you reach the end of your sun-soaked week to find some leftover cash from your spending money budget. But if you don't want to fritter it away on useless trinkets or over-priced sweets at the airport just to get rid of it, what can you do with your spare foreign currency? We’ve got some great tips on what to do with your unspent cash.

1. Save it for your next holiday

If you’ve just had a holiday somewhere like Spain or Greece then any leftover cash will be euros. There are now a total of 27 countries in the EU, most of which have adopted the euro as their currency, and they make fantastic holiday destinations! So, even if you’re not planning to return to the same place next time you travel, the likelihood is you may well be heading somewhere else that accepts it. That means it’s worth holding onto your euros until then – you’ll also avoid any hefty exchange rates.

The US dollar is also accepted in a number of holiday hot spots, such as the Caribbean and Mexico, so if you’ve returned with unspent bills from the US, it’s worth checking if your next destination is one of them.

2. Exchange it for pounds sterling

If you've got a few notes left, you can exchange it again! But, whatever you do, don’t change your currency back into sterling at the airport. Did you know this is the most expensive place to convert your unspent money? That's because providers have a captive audience, so apply hefty exchange rates and also usually charge a commission fee. They also won’t accept coins, so you could be stuck with a pocket full of foreign change.

3. Donate it to charity

So, you've spent, saved or exchanged your leftover notes. Now, what about the shrapnel you've got left? You can't swap change for pounds at the bank or foreign exchange, but lots of charities will be more than happy to take your unused travel money off your hands! Check with your favourites or pop to your local charity shop and ask if they can make use of it.

And when you're ready for your next overseas holiday, you can order your travel money with us!

First published 2014, author unknown. Reviewed and republished by Adele Grant, 2021

Adele Grant

About the author

Adele has worked in travel for a number of years now, which has taken her to some amazing places. When she’s not at home cuddling her dog, she loves to explore new places. From Mexico to Croatia and Iceland, she has some great insider tips.