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Extra change?

What do you do with any extra euros or other foreign currency you have at the end of your trip? I would imagine exchanging it wouldn't be worth it.


Posted by
1007 posts

We keep euros and pounds for future trips.

Posted by
5730 posts
  1. save for next trip, your's or for someone you know
  2. leave the server or bartender at the airport a generous tip.
  3. buy something at the duty free before you depart.
  4. donate it to a charity at the airport.

If you have more than a few, then find someone who needs some at your local RS travel meeting.

Posted by
4556 posts

I try to use most of the coins before the end of my trip then I just save the bills for my next trip!


Posted by
3696 posts

We try to end up with about 30-50 Euro for the next trip. Like Priscilla, we try to use up our smaller coins, but I purposely save the larger coins we might want to immediately jump on a metro or tram in our first city after our flight.

Posted by
672 posts

Extra Euro bills stay in my travel purse for the next trip. I try to use up the coins toward the end of the trip. I also have a box of random coins for my grandkids😊.

Posted by
18359 posts

All of the above, with one added note: While you may be able to find a foreign-exchange office or booth that will convert currency, it is usually impossible to exchange coins after you leave their country of use.

Posted by
5577 posts

For a place I won't be re-visiting in the near future -- some kids like foreign coins. Candy/ souvenirs/ snacks at the airport.
Euro coins stay in the coin purse for pay toilets, bills in my money belt with my passport. Ziploc baggies for other currencies, preferably labeled by country.

Posted by
1192 posts

Maybe you can sell them to someone who will traveling to Europe. I bought 700€ from my neighbor last year. It helped both of us. It was at the market rate and neither of us had to pay fees.

Posted by
7205 posts

Pay for the last night at your hotel.

Posted by
21031 posts

We tend to use about 95% cash when traveling. Will use a credit card for a hotel IF they do not give a discount for cash. During the last day or two of the trip we will bury about 200 euro in a money belt as our return stash for the next trip. From that point forward we try to spend nearly all the cash and use the credit cards more extensively. The goal is to walk on the plane with zero euro on us (other than the 200 set aside). Once dumped all our euro and coins (wasn't much) on a bar in an airport and asked, "How much wine will that buy me?" The bartender laughed and said about three glass but I will give you the bottle." And so we drank our last bottle of wine in Italy toasting the barkeep.

Posted by
996 posts

Loving this thread!

We keep all Euros (coins included), but we no longer keep Pounds b/c they seem to be redesigning them. I'm already hoping to find a bank while we're in England to exchange our old (no longer viable) Pound notes from less than 10 years ago.

Despite that fact, I always keep at least one paper bill (scrapbook) and some coins (kids in the extended family) for souvenirs.

Posted by
1936 posts

On the flights back to the US they usually collect any unwanted change for an international charity.
Otherwise, same them for the toilets on your next trip. It amazes my sister how many pay toilets there are, especially in Vienna.

Posted by
3449 posts

While your local bank where you have an account will most likely convert it for you, you are correct that it probably would not be worth it since they set their own rates and they are never really favorable no matter how much they may claim otherwise. And no exchange takes any coins.

I keep my major currency (like Euro or Pounds) for my return trips. Been lucky enough to not get caught with the Pound replacement program so far (coworker bought what I had left for his trip which allowed me to not be stuck with the coins and bills that went out of circulation recently). One country currency (kroner, Francs etc.) I usually try not to have a lot of on me at any one time anyway and then spend what I can from what I have left at the airport. So far I have not been stuck with any.

Posted by
17895 posts

I'm with Frank. The only times I've used a credit card in Europe was once (2007, I think) when the Bahn ticket automats did not take cash and there was a long line at the window. A couple of times recently, my partner has wanted to purchase apparel at a store in Germany, and the store took credit cards. The price exceeded what I had on hand, so I used my credit card. The rest of the time, I use cash from the ATM. I've found that the places I like to stay in (small, family run) rarely take credit cards, so I save money by not using plastic for accommodations.

I always come home from Europe with several hundred euro so that I have enough when I get there the next time, so that I don't have to worry about finding a working ATM, but if I get to the end of the trip and I still have 300 or 400 euro, I don't worry about it. I don't spend the money just to get rid of it. I know I will come back and use the excess within the first couple of day. What I lose in interest over the next year is offset by what it would cost in exchange fees to get more.

I have learned to recognize euro coins, so I spend them as I go and rarely come back with more in coins than the smallest euro note (5 euro).

Posted by
489 posts

We keep all and those coins, as heavy are usually needed on the next trip. We also know we are traveling to Euro areas again soon. If we did not think we would be traveling to Euro zone, then we would get rid of as much as we can in the airport shops, and give whatever to the charity container in the airport.
In the past I always brought back coins and small bills for a souvenir. We now have Yen from Japan and hubbie needs to travel there next week on business, but our Yen are at about 20 yrs old. Did Japan also change over money. I know Korea has not.. I feel the Brits are not kind at changing their pounds.. Going there this fall. Hubbie had to deal with that a year ago with old pounds.

Posted by
2151 posts

I budget pretty well so that I usually only come home with no more than 40 euros, stashed in a ziplock bag with any coins for future trips. Same with forints since I return to Budapest annually, it seems. Other currencies I spend down, probably have less than $10 US left of my zlotys and korunas.

Posted by
59 posts

Sell them on craigslist so you dont lose a bunch during exchange. I am always looking to buy coins for exact exchange before I go to Bosnia because many of the towns are poor and they appreciate exact change. I buy tons of dollar gelato and dollar drinks and fruit from local farmers :)

Posted by
8061 posts

If I am running low on Euro (or GBP) toward the end of a trip I'll pull out enough from an ATM that I have at least 200 for my next trip.

I keep my coins in a small size ziplock from Michaels craft store. I like to keep some coins for the next trip so I've always got some for toilet change. However, last time I went thru TSA screening at departure the person kept looking at my backpack and sent it thru a second time. I asked what was the problem and she said, I think you've got a lot of change in there and I'm trying to see around it! Lesson learned so if I'm traveling to both a Euro country and UK I'll just put my little change packets in the bin with my electronics.

Liz, with as much work as you've put in to planning this trip you WILL love it and you WILL go back! Keep enough so you can get a taxi from the airport and get a couple of meals before you need to hit the ATM.

Posted by
5011 posts

I bring home any unused currency and save it for the next trip. It almost always comes in handy.

My wife and I travel pretty widely, across much of the world, including some fairly obscure countries. For the places we know we will be going back to sometime in the next ten years, we set that currency aside in a place we can find them easily as we're packing for the next trips. That's probably half the currencies we have.

I also have a small box at home where I just dump all the oddball or old foreign currencies. We call that our "treasure chest" and it makes a great reminder of obscure places we've been to - fun to pull out and play with when we have kids over (their eyes get really big when they see all the "loot"). Have some pretty odd stuff in there, old coins and bills, which really do look like they came out of a pirate's chest (rough, strange, mis-shapen and irregular, old no-longer-used Mexican and Central American coins - really do look like something out of a pirate movie). We have a small stash of pre-Euro currencies from across Europe, too - Francs, Escudos, Pisetas, etc. All fun to play with when we're between trips.

Posted by
1128 posts

I try not to bring any home with me. While I do always think I"ll return, obviously I can't predict the future and there could always be an unexpected job loss or medical problems. On my last day or so of my trip, I try to start spending any cash and coins I have. I try to donate the small value coins either in a charity box or else during the charity collection on the return flight.

Inevitably, I'll find some leftover currency when I get back, there's always a few coins that seem to turn up in my luggage as I unpack. And. sometimes I"ll find some banknotes in a pocket.

I"m pretty much about 90% card only when I travel and I think it's safe to assume that just about everyplace is going to be even more card friendly in the future.

Posted by
1036 posts

In my experience it is never a problem to use the last cash in the airport. Buy something you want, give them all your cash, and top up with your credit card.

Posted by
113 posts

I have always liked to come home with at least 50 Euros. It will get me started at the airport for the first leg of train travel. I have always donated the small change on the airplane on the way home. I am going back with 100 Euros for my trip for next month. I feel I should be able to make it to my first city with that amount and then I can get to a bank ATM in town versus using one at the airport.