Brits are hoarding around £3 billion of unused foreign currency in their homes as 13% of the population fails to convert their money back into sterling.
This money is often kept for future trips, with the average family having a pot of £110 leftover following a holiday, according to peer-to-peer lending firm Zopa.
Just 16% of people said they would use the money next time they travel, suggesting that the majority forget they have some spare cash stored up.
In total, £2.92bn of discarded currency is sitting on bedside tables, in drawers and down the back of sofas across the UK.
Keeping currency at home
Two thirds of people also revealed that they have two or more types of foreign currency at home, suggesting they have hoarded their discarded funds for some period of time.
Euros were the most popular currency kept by holidaymakers, with 79% of people admitting to having them while 43% had US dollars.
Other currencies to keep included Canadian dollars, Swiss Francs, Australian dollars and Thai baht, all notably popular destinations with UK holidaymakers.
Exchange rates for trading back foreign currency can often mean people lose out, which may explain why they do not wish to change their money back to pounds.
Managing foreign money
One option for people who have many different foreign coins is to donate them to charity – a number of organisations accept coins, so any leftover change can be put to good use.
Trading to friends at a similar rate to that of when the money was first purchased could also benefit both parties, as commission and other costs are removed.
Larger sums of foreign currency tend to have better buy-back rates as well, so people should look for as much money as they can before trying to exchange it.
Changing foreign currency into a different one for another trip may also provide better rates than switching to sterling and back again.
Turning to prepaid travel cards
Travelling with a prepaid travel card can provide money to spend without the need to carry lots of travellers’ cheques or foreign currency.
With a prepaid card you can only spend the amount which is on it at any given time, making budget management possible, although the card can be topped up if you so wish.
Additional security exists on these cards, while the exchange rate seen will be the one when the original transaction took place – providing protection should the exchange rate vary dramatically during a trip.
There is also additional protection if the card should be misplaced, as funds can be transferred to a new card with the minimum of fuss.