One of the annoyances of travelling international is the amount of “small change” that can accumulate. In some countries, coins are used instead of small notes so at the end of a trip, you can have a surprisingly large amount of money tied up in coinage. There is a limit as to how many of these coins one wants to collect for souvenir purposes and these coins are “virtually” worthless on return as most money changers and banks only accept notes in foreign exchange transactions.
Options- Spend, Save, Give
- Learn the coinage of the country you are in and be vigilant in spending change as soon as you get it. Ask clerks in shops to help you to avoid getting small change
- Leave them as part of your tip for hotel staff (if you leave a tip)
- Top up your Starbucks card with leftover notes and coins as you leave the Canada, Hong Kong, Mexico, Australia, Thailand, UK and USA (I have done this at a few airports now!)- NB The minimum amount that must be loaded onto your Starbucks Card is $5 at participating stores. Only countries listed above participate in the interchangeable Starbucks program
- Ask your hotel’s check out agent to change loose coins into notes for you as you check out- notes which you can more easily exchange or bring next visit
- Carry pill (or old film) containers for coins for those places you travel to on a very regular basis. These were often useful to pay for things upon arrival
- Coins can make very interesting gifts for kids, nephews and nieces or colleagues!
- Deposit them in a charity tin or box in a shop or store (I am reluctant to give them to beggars). Many legitimate charities have such facilities on shop counters
- Check if your airline has a collection envelope system on board for donation to charity (Emirates has a Foundation, Many One World Airlines participate in Change for Good). Coins placed in the envelopes are sorted, transported and sold to raise money for worthy projects