What To Do With Leftover Foreign Currency

Whenever my parents come back from a trip abroad they send my daughter their leftover change. I usually let her look at it for a bit then throw it in the “junk drawer” where it will sit until the next time we move. If you are like my parents, no matter how hard you try, inevitably you end up leaving a foreign country with leftover change.

Most money exchangers only accept paper money, plus you lose money every time you exchange it due to commissions and the rate spreads. And who can really figure out the trick of exchanging EXACTLY the amount of money you will need in a country. Many are left with the option of running around the airport, hotel lobby or train station in their frenzied last moments buying something they don’t need in order to get rid of their remaining foreign currency. Of course, I have read about savvy travelers who save exactly what they will need for transportation out of the country, then apply their remaining foreign currency to their last hotel bill, charging the balance due.

However, The United States Fund for UNICEF may have an even better option. Their “Change for Good” program has made it easy to turn your remaining currency into charity. You can even donate old currency that is no longer valid after the Euro conversion. Since the program’s inception in 1991, millions of people have donated their unused foreign coins and notes to help in the aid of the world’s children. To date, the program has raised over $38 million for needy children around the world. For more information about the program and ways you can donate, visit: www.unicef.org.

I’ve known about the program for a while now, but writing this blog is perhaps the incentive I needed to get me to go through my “junk drawer” and send my parent’s leftover foreign currency into UNICEF. Perhaps, it will inspire you to do the same.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.