What to Do with Leftover Currency


Your vacation in London is nearly over. Tomorrow you’ll head to Heathrow and fly back to the U.S. But wait, you still have a few sterling coins leftover. It’s not enough to buy anything with, and while you could exchange it, you wouldn’t get very much in American money for it anyway. You certainly don’t want to lug it back to the U.S. where it will be worthless.

So what do you do with leftover currency? Check out a few of these tips and make the most of your leftover currency.

Donate at the Airport

Airports all over the world like to collect for charities. You’ll see donation boxes in nearly every terminal and sometimes at cash registers themselves. Airports plan this as a way to let travelers get rid of their leftover currency. Though that pocket change might not buy a meal, it will help a hospital buy supplies somewhere.

If you can manage your change until you get to the airport, drop it off in one of these collection tins. You’ll know your change is going to a worthy cause, and you won’t have to carry it around any more.

Donate to Another Traveler

When you’re at the airport or sitting in your hotel, plenty of travelers will be passing you by. Some will just be starting their adventure. Others will be right in the middle of it. Help them out by donating the small amount of money you have.

While at your hotel, look for people sitting in the lobby and ask them to take your money off your hands. Chances are they’ll be happy to take on whatever change you have. This is a nice way to pay it forward to someone else’s trip. With any luck, those people will give away their leftover money when they’re ready to head home.

Donate on the Airplane

Airlines know travelers often bring home loose change that is worthless in their home countries, and they found a way to help travelers in case they forget to donate at the airport. On flights between two countries with different currencies, many flights off in-flight donations to the UNICEF Change for Good program.

Started in 1987, the UNICEF Change for Good program has raised over $3 million world wide, and all that money goes back to helping people around the world. Some of the airlines that participate in this program include American Airlines, Aer Lingus, Cathay Pacific, Asiana Airlines and Finnair.

On most flights, the attendants will announce a special time to donate to the the UNICEF Change for Good program, but you can do it on your own when you’re ready. The envelopes are usually kept in the seat pocket in front of you. Simple drop in your extra change and seal it. Your flight attendants will either come around and collect them or ask you to keep them in the seat pockets. They’ll go through and collect the envelops later.

Donating leftover currency is a great way to end your trip, no matter who you donate it to. How will you be donating leftover currency? Share with me!

#Donatingleftovercurrency #UNICEFChangeforGoodprogram

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Caroline Glassell, owner of Travel Barista, is a world-wide traveler, freelance travel writer, and multi-lingual mom of two daughters. Growing up in both Sweden and Portugal she developed a passion for travel at a young age. Her love of travel ultimately brought her to over thirty 

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