You can eliminate foreign currency in many ways before you back to your country but stay away from airport and hotel exchange counters.
You get foreign cash by taking it out from an ATM. You’ll get a bank’s conversion rate, rather than the premium charged by a money changer. Even if your bank charges foreign currency conversion fees on these withdrawals, that’s still a saving.
There are many ways to eliminate foreign currency back to your home currency.
Find out if your bank has an affiliate branch abroad: it will offer the best exchange rates and may waive ATM fees for withdrawals. Stay away from airport and hotel exchange counters, which typically have poor rates and high commission fees.
If you want to get rid of what’s left of the foreign currency:
You can pay your hotel bill
On your way out of the hotel you know what’s left, pay any hotel folio balance with cash and leave the remainder on your credit card.
Add funds to your Starbucks card
In many countries, you can add funds in-store in the local currency. That will convert to the currency of the country your card is registered in.
Fill up your rental car tank with gas
If you’ve rented a car, stop to refill gas on the way to the airport. You should do this otherwise the rental company will charge you more than what the gas price is. Pay in cash, refill to the amount of cash you’ve got left and then you can refill the rest of the tank with a credit card transaction.
Save the cash for your next trip
You can keep Euros, Pounds, Baht, Pesos (of various nationalities), Dong, Dollars (of multiple kinds) if you are planning to use them within 18-24 months.
In some cases, you are keeping cash and not earning a rate of return on it. So it may not be the most efficient idea. But you can view it as a convenience.
Bring it into your bank
This is last-ditch but you’re probably still going to do better than at the airport exchange.
Airport stores swap bills and most coins on the spot but keep in mind that each store sets its own rates and fees.
Some airports have “change globes” or bins to collect leftover money from travelers leaving a country.
Buy something in Duty-Free stores.
Foreign currency is money and it is not free and you don’t have to spend it just because you have it.
Want to make your international traveling even easier? Read more about Top 10 Tips for International Travel
What’s your foreign currency tips? How do you buy it, and do you convert it back to your home currency when you leave a country?