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How to get rid of your coins when leaving a foreign country

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DON’T STORE SMALL CHANGE, PUT IT TO USE

A friend recently asked us what to do with his large and unintentional collection of foreign coins left over from many international trips. He was surprised to learn that currency exchanges won’t take them. Since hanging onto coins between foreign trips is annoying (*), we recommend the following three practices for putting your coins to purposeful use.

1) Give them to charity. There are collection boxes in most international airports. Once you know about them, you’ll see them everywhere. We took the pictures in this post on just one international trip.

2) Use them plus a credit card to buy something at an airport shop. A few bucks worth of foreign currency won’t buy anything interesting at a duty-free shop, however, the same shops will happily accept all your small change plus a credit card to make up the difference on a larger item. We often buy things we are going to use anyway, you know, like batteries and gin.

3) If you have former European currencies that are no longer circulating (Belgian franc, Deutsche Mark, Estonian kroon, Irish pound, Luxembourg franc, Maltese lire, Dutch Guilder, Austrian Schilling, Portuguese escudos, Slovak koruna, Slovenian tolar, Spanish pesetas und Cypriot pound), you’re not entirely out of luck. You can send them to euromoney24.com and ask that they be donated to charity or transferred to your bank account.

(*) We do hold on to bills, however, for countries we expect to revisit within a couple years

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