Travel Money Guide

When you come back from an overseas trip you may bring back beautiful memories, souvenirs of great times and maybe even a great tan, but being left with foreign cash feels like such a waste!  Here we look at the best options to get the most from your unspent travel money so you don’t end up feeling too short-changed.

What can you do with unused travel money?

Save it: Keep hold of your holiday money for your next trip

Are you planning to go back again to the same country or away to a country that accepts the same currency you have leftover? By keeping it safe until the next time you go away, you will avoid any of the exchange fees and charges that are incurred by exchanging the currency back to pounds.

Obviously, If you aren’t going to a country that uses the same as your leftover currency and you have no choice but to exchange your unused foreign currency to pounds, make sure you compare buy-back companies and get the best buy back deal.

Convert it: Sell your unused currency

If you’re not planning another trip to a country that accepts your leftover foreign currency, you can exchange your currency back into pounds.  There are many buy-back companies on the market that offer this service.

So what is buyback? Basically, buyback is when you sell your unused foreign currency in exchange for pounds sterling.  You will be offered an exchange rate, just like when you bought your travel money in the first place.

With the ever-changing exchange rates, you do run the risk of getting less money back if the exchange rate has fallen (or you could be in luck and get a better rate than you bought it at!).  If the rate has dropped you could think about waiting and converting your travel money back at a later date.

Not all travel money providers have buyback services. To get the best deal when selling your travel money compare the buyback providers to get the best buy back rate.

If you are selling your unused travel cash, take into consideration:

  • Most providers will only take notes, not coins.  Also, some providers may not buy back some low-value notes.
  • Exchange rates go up and down, keep your eye on this, you may get a much better deal by holding off.

Donate to charity.

You could pay it forward and donate your unused travel money to charity.  Bigger name charities that take foreign currency include Age UK (Age Concern), UNICEF, Barnado’s, and Oxfam.

Look out on your journey home airlines and airports often have foreign coin donations that go towards charities like UNICEF and their “Change for Good” program. 

Give or sell to family or a friend.

Obviously, if you give your unused foreign currency away to friends or family, you won’t get your money back.   But you could agree to sell it to them. You could sell at a price that cuts the cost of the foreign exchange company, meaning that both you and your friend or family member could save.

Whatever you end up doing with your leftover currency; saving, selling, giving it away, or even a combination, the choice is yours.

Be sure if you are selling your travel cash to compare the rates of different providers to get the best but back rates and save money.

Quick Links

Today’s best rates for selling Euros

Today’s best rates for selling US Dollars

Today’s best rates for selling Polish Zloty


Jason is the founder of Compare Travel Cash, and has worked in the financial industry for the majority of his career.