How do you handle and store your foreign currency between trips?

By David | Aug 07, 2018, 02:14 PM

Like most business travellers and frequent flyers, I make repeat trips to many countries – which means that between those trips, I like to keep that country's currency so that I have it on hand for the next trip. I'm curious as to how other Australian Business Traveller readers manage this?


My own strategy is that I picked up a bunch of plastic 'invoice' envelopes from OfficeWorks: there's maybe a dozen, in sturdy and differently-coloured DL-sized plastic wallets, and they all fit into a fat plastic container. In each of those I stash a different set of notes – UK pounds, Euro, HK dollars etc. In those same envelopes I also keep anything else related to that country: eg the UK envelope has my Oyster card, a few BA express lane passes for Heathrow, the UK landing card. If I have a local SIM card for any country it also goes into that country's envelope, so that it's pretty much a 'grab and go' solution when packing for a trip.


As for coins, I used to keep them but quickly realised that sorting them could be a real pain and take more time than it's worth, so as a rule I now just pop them into a donation box at the airport or the donation envelope (Change for Good etc) handed out by the airline on my journey home.


What's your solution for managing foreign currency between trips?

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By moa999 | Aug 07, 2018, 02:25 PM
Similarly use envelopes and generally junk coins as well.

I've got an old Oyster wallet that's got about 10 international transit cards and a bunch of Australian ones
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By mviy | Aug 07, 2018, 02:27 PM
I'm not very organised about this. I would have to hunt around looking for where I'd left the currency, though I should get better at this.

As for coins keeping those can be useful especially for visiting some countries.
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By paperplanes | Aug 07, 2018, 02:57 PM
I minimise the use of currency whenever possible and also the use of travel cards, that is, I use plastic to pay for everything (including travel on the tube in London for example), just ensure you have a good 'no fees' debit card or Credit Card that also gives you a good exchange rate. For example: ING for debit cards and/or Bankwest, 28Degrees, Citi for credit cards. As an added bonus it also makes keeping track of all your travel expenses and the work related travel claim a breeze! This also applies for domestic travel, but im guessing you are referring more to South east Asia and other areas where currecny is still commonly used?


Last edited by paperplanes at Aug 07, 2018, 04.14 PM.
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By Phil Young | Aug 07, 2018, 03:33 PM
I'm a regular visitor to London, and use the Oyster card there. A decade ago coins were useful and necessary for public phones and wherever one had to pay small amounts. These days one has a smartphone and credit cards are widely accepted ever for fairly small payments.

So, on my last day in London I'll get rid of most of my coins by adding credit to my Oyster card at any tube station, ready for my next trip to London.
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By Ross | Aug 07, 2018, 03:50 PM
Zip lock lunch bags for each currency notes. I do keep UK and Euro coins - the gold ones anyhow, the rest I just lose somewhere...
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By PB57 | Aug 07, 2018, 03:57 PM
I agree with the strategies re cards and coins. I use cash minimally and long for the day when all coins are obsolete. Similar to others I load coins onto public transport cards before I leave a country that I know I’ll be returning to. I’ll be doing that in Singapore this afternoon. I also do it with my Myki as I depart Melbourne.
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By X | Aug 07, 2018, 04:12 PM
I use the CX Premium economy wash bags to sort my foreign currency.

As for coins, there are these brilliant Fourex vending machines in London (http://www.fourex.co.uk/) where I dump my foreign currency coins and exchange them for pounds or euros.
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By David | Aug 07, 2018, 04:45 PM
So, on my last day in London I'll get rid of most of my coins by adding credit to my Oyster card at any tube station, ready for my next trip to London.

Oh, that's a great idea – very practical!
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By Neon | Aug 07, 2018, 04:49 PM
Document folders work well. Cash, Transit Cards, larger denomination coins e.g. 500Yen. On my iPhone I keep country specific apps in a folder named as the Country and more generic travel apps in a "Travel" folder. A little bit of organisation saves a lot of searching later!
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By colin5353 | Aug 07, 2018, 05:00 PM
I have envelopes with the CUR and amounts of each listed on the top of the envelope, then they do into a old Ghiridelli chocolate tin. I only seem to keep notes, coins I leave at hotels or give to the change for good program.

I will admit to be slack with train/bus/transport cards, I never seem to return the Singapore ones and now have about 5. But they are in a "card holder" folder from Officeworks that also houses FF cards, hotel and hire car membership cards etc
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By tommygun | Aug 07, 2018, 05:55 PM
I've learned not to keep coins. They get changed (no pun intended) to a new size/design etc and become obsolete. Also I never keep notes from certain places, e.g. Falkland Islands pounds - impossible to exchange even in London and Stanley is not a place I'll likely be going back to anytime soon. So in both cases I just buy stuff or give the money away.
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By jch | Aug 07, 2018, 05:59 PM
Cheap plastic collapsible folder. Will see if can post a pic later.
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By Ourmanin | Aug 07, 2018, 06:18 PM
Pretty much the same strategy as you. Everything for that country in one envelope. Just grab that and go. Also keep apps related to individual countries / cities in one place also. And also (maybe over paranoid, but it’s been useful before) taken a copy of any relevant visas / electronic travel authority approvals with me. My 6 month old daughter was once denied boarding returning to Aus (from NZ - I have UK passport) because they couldn’t get her passport to scan confirming visa. My wife asked where we could leave her as she and I needed to board the flight. The hard copy of her visa confirmation was extremely useful!
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By lind26 | Aug 07, 2018, 06:51 PM
I put it in the AMEX Foreign exchange zip bag they give you when you get currency, then I store it with my passport. When I travel next it’s all ready and since there’s no commission payable with Amex Foreign exchange, it’s all in one handy place next time I top up. Foreign coins I generally give to coin collectors.
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By sid | Aug 07, 2018, 07:06 PM
Can't believe nobody has mentioned the Unicef Change For Good program for small change!
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David Power

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