You graduated college, you traveled around the world for a couple of months, and now you're back home with a bag full of foreign coins. Unspent currency has to be the least glamorous souvenir you can bring back from your travels. It's near-impossible to spend every coin before you leave, they're dirty and heavy, and currency exchange counters will rarely accept them. It feels strange to throw money out, so here are a few suggestions on what to do with your leftover coins:
Treat Yourself at the Airport
If you don't want to be lugging heavy coins around in your purse for the entirety of your trip, try to use up as much of them as you can at the airport. I usually splash out on a fancy meal at a restaurant and leave the coins as a tip.
You could also buy a book for a plane if you don't travel with a Kindle, or even buy some souvenirs for friends in a gift shop or duty free. Sometimes I’ll even buy some new clothes for my upcoming destinations at the airport and throw out anything that is looking worn and tired in order to avoid adding more weight to my luggage.
Make Some Money By Selling Them Online
You'd be surprised to know that you can often sell foreign coins online and make close to their value back. Ebay is a great place to start doing this, so make sure to take a look at how much you could make before you consider throwing them away.
Use Them as Decorations in Your Home
I’m all about buying or creating souvenirs of the places I visit, and small trinkets are my favorite way to remind myself of the countries I’ve been to.
One of the best ways to use old foreign coins is to display them in a pretty container.
Simply clean your coins in a bucket of disinfectant and then buy a sleek glass bottle to place them all in. Place it on your windowsill or beside your bed to always be reminded of the places you've been.
Use Them to Reload Your Starbucks Card
If you're somewhere that has a Starbucks nearby, ask them to reload your card with your currency before you leave the country.
You'll then be able to spend it when you're back in the United States without having lost out on the exchange rate, either!
Give Them to Charity
UNICEF accepts unused foreign currency as a donation, thanks to their Change For Good scheme. Twelve international airlines collect during their flights, and you can also send it to them directly. This is a great way to get rid of your coins before you arrive in your next destination. Gather them together, place them in the envelope on the plane, and you won’t have to carry all of that extra weight in your next destination.
Give Them Away as Gifts
If you have a friend that has always wanted to travel, give your coins away to them as a gift, especially if they're from a country they want to visit. Make sure to clean them in detergent before you give them away, as that’ll remove any lurking germs or bacteria, and get them back to their original, shiny state.
Alternatively, the children in your life -- younger siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews -- would likely be grateful to receive them, and you can use the coins as a way of teaching them about the world and where you have visited.
Make Them Into Jewellery
If you have a drill lying around at home, why not drill a small hole into the coins and string them up to make some jewellery?
You could make some earrings with the Euros you have leftover from your trip to Spain, a bracelet linking coins from Southeast Asian countries, or a necklace with Mexican Pesos to remind you of Spring Break.
Create Magnets Out of Them
Of course, you may want to keep your unused currency as a souvenir of your trip, in which case, turning them into magnets is a fun way to do so.
Buy a magnetic board, along with a few small magnets, and glue them to the back of the coins. Now you can stick up your photos, tickets, and memories to the board, along with coins from the countries you’ve visited!