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Is it better to Exchange Currency at Home or Abroad? A 2024 Guide

- Published on 26th February 2024


As your holiday or trip abroad ends, you might find yourself with stacks of foreign coins and leftover notes and only a little you can do with them. 

While you might go on a final tourist spree and exchange the foreign currency for souvenirs to take home, the most cost-effective thing to do is to exchange the cash back into British pounds to spend at home.

But is it better to complete that exchange while you’re still overseas or when you get home?

This blog looks at both options’ pros and cons before determining the best path to maximise your return and ensure you don’t lose out.

The Pros of Exchanging Currency Abroad

The undeniable benefit of exchanging money abroad is the convenience of returning home and knowing that you’ve already ticked one post-holiday task off your list.

Exchanging money abroad can be done at the airport on arrival and before you leave again, meaning you need never visit a bank or the post office at home to get your holiday money or convert it back to pounds again. This is a real-time saver for many travellers – one benefit we cannot ignore.

But convenience comes at a cost…

The Cons of Exchanging Currency Abroad

You need to consider where you would look to exchange your foreign currency while overseas.

The most convenient place to do this is the airport, using the bureau de change service desk we mentioned before – but have you ever stopped to research the exchange rate advertised at these desks and via these services?

Unfortunately, bureau de change service desks and other similar provisions tend to offer the lowest exchange rates, meaning that you will receive a different value than the actual value of your money back in pounds.

 The same is true of travellers heading out on their holiday and who decide to buy foreign currency when they arrive – again losing out to that poor exchange rate, which will severely impact the amount you get for your money.

exchange currency

Exchange Currency Online

So, what’s the alternative?

Buying and exchanging foreign currency in the UK tends to be the recommended path for most travellers – but where is the best place to do it?

Post offices are often one of the first places that spring to mind, though again, you will often find that the exchange rate in these facilities is unfavourable. 

Post offices are limited in the currencies they can exchange. You might wait in a queue at the travel money counter only to find that you can’t get what you need.

exchange currency

This is why exchanging currency online is fast becoming recognised as the best and most cost-effective solution on all parts.

Exchanging your foreign currency online via a service like Leftover Currency grants access to any and every currency you can think of, with online-market-leading exchange rates and an efficient service which enables you to receive a quote, send your currency, and receive the money back in pounds in record time.

Leftover Currency’s system aims to give travellers and holidaymakers power over their currency, enabling them to convert any leftover holiday money back into pounds and get back the money that is already theirs. 

It also offers a sustainable approach to currency exchange, enabling multiple currencies and denominations to be exchanged in a single transaction.

How to Exchange Currency while at Home

While post office counters and bureau de change units are available on high streets and airports, the best way to exchange currency is at home in front of your computer or laptop.

All you have to do is select the currency you want to exchange and tell the Leftover Currency system how much you want to convert – and we will do the rest! All currency sent to Leftover Currency is entered back into circulation in its local area – with Leftover Currency even exchanging outdated currency which has fallen out of circulation (find out more about this on our FAQs page and in dedicated blogs).

If you come across any currencies we don’t currently list on our website, please let us know! As the market leader in global currency exchange, we are always keen to add new currencies to our site. 


Mario Van Poppel

Mario Van Poppel is the founder and director of Leftover Currency. What started as a hobby, collecting world banknotes, evolved into a fulltime job, running a successful online bureau de change. Mario is still a collector of pre-Euro banknotes and a member of the IBNS.