Wondering what to do with the unused foreign currency? For good exchange rates and convenience, you can settle bills using a no-foreign exchange fee credit card when abroad. However, keeping cash is useful to pay for public transport, food vendors, or just for leaving tips.
You might think that returning home with surplus foreign currency is wasteful, but there are many ways you can put this money to good use. However, if the currencies are from places like the UK or the US, which you may not be visiting soon, what can you do with the excess amount?
In case you have foreign currencies like the US dollar, Euro, or British Pound, try not to convert them into SGD. Save the cash and use it for your next trip abroad. Being a Singaporean, you might feel comfortable exchanging it for your home currency. But, it is important to consider the global perspective when it comes to exchange rates.
In most countries, taking currencies like Euro or the US dollar will be more useful as places such as Korea might not accept Singapore dollar. Several money changers in the world would accept currencies from America or Europe. Then again, if you are holding on to Vietnamese Dong or the Philippine Peso, it won’t be a good idea to carry them to non-Asian countries.
Keep in mind that money changers at airports may not provide you with the best exchange rates. It is worth noting that coins from your previous trip may be difficult to convert. Consider spending these coins on drinks or snacks on flights or at the airport.
If you have been somewhere really exotic, you can become a coin collector or approach one.
Deposit the Fund to Your PayPal Account
If you happen to be at an airport that has a Traveller’s Box, you can drop your funds to your PayPal account. Many airports in locations like Georgia, Turkey, Israel, Italy, and the Philippines have this feature. Please note that you need to pay a percentage fee for the transaction.
You can consider buying souvenirs like mugs, key chains, or magnets from duty-free retail outlets at international airports. You can even pay your hotel bills with that money. Part of it can be paid in cash and the rest can be paid using a credit card. A lot of travellers stop at a Starbucks cafe before returning home to have the unused cash added to a Starbucks card, without any conversion fees.
If you are an avid shopper, go all out and shop. The country you are visiting will definitely have a street dedicated to shoppers. Visit such places and buy clothes, bags, and shoes with the leftover foreign currency.
Just Save It
You can save the foreign currency for another time because you might be revisiting the country where the currency was issued. Chances are that the exchange rates will not fluctuate in the short term. Also, you’ll be saved from spending on pesky conversion fees. What you can do is keep a wallet or a purse with the currency from that country along with any particular documents there.
Sell the Bills
You can consider selling or trading your foreign currency to someone who is going to the place you have been. If you cannot think of anybody, leave a message on the bulletin board at work or anywhere you might meet with others, even online like eBay.
Donate the Funds
On many occasions, flight attendants on international flights collect money from passengers for charity. You can donate your foreign currency to these NGOs. Airlines like Cathay Pacific, Qantas, etc. participate in ‘Change for Good’ by UNICEF. Also, when you are at the airport, keep a look out for donation boxes along the way.
Make a Gift Pack
Pick up souvenirs and a map of the country you are in and put them in a small box along with the foreign currency. Gift wrap the box and tie a bow and you’ll have a perfect fun and memorable gift for your kids or anyone back home.
Simply buy some white round magnets and stick the leftover coins on them. You can use these magnets to gift or stick them on your fridge. You can even turn those coins into a beautiful necklace or a pair of earrings by drilling holes in them. Glue these coins on a frame to hold your favourite travel photograph.
You can avoid the double exchange spread if you just convert your foreign currency in the country you are visiting instead of exchanging it to SGD and then changing it again while travelling. This way, you can save on a lot of exchange fees.