Britain’s nation of holiday money hoarders

Almost half of us returning from holiday with foreign currency squirrel it away with a plan to use it for the next trip, rather than bother with the hassle of shopping around for the best exchange rates to convert it back into Sterling. This is according to a survey of over 2000 holidaymakers by ICE – International Currency Exchange, the leading travel money provider.

• Almost 50% of UK travellers hoard holiday money at home
• 1 in 3 spend it at the airport
• Only a third bother converting it back to Pounds when they arrive home


Taking the pain out of organising currency conversions back into Sterling, the ICE Buy-Back service allows travellers with left over foreign currency, to get an exchange rate quote via text.

According to the ICE survey, 49% of UK travellers come home with currency and do nothing with it. In contrast, only 3% give unspent local currency to charity, whilst 12% use it to tip hotel staff**. Just under a third convert their holiday money, when they get home, while the same proportion will fritter it in the airport lounge and gift shops. Only 16% would spend it on gifts for loved ones.

Koko Sarkari, Chief Operating Officer of ICE, says, “Based on the national survey findings, we conducted a poll amongst our customers to find out how much foreign cash they are hoarding – 66% admitted to having over £50 worth of foreign currency at home**.”

“If exchange rates were favourable when the currency was first ordered and another trip’s on the cards, you can understand why you wouldn’t rush to convert leftover holiday money back into Sterling. But with almost half of us hoarding foreign cash, the hassle factor probably plays a big part in the decision not to convert it back. At ICE, we completely understand this and that’s why we launched our text based buy-back service, providing a quick quote for any currency we sell – whether the customer ordered it from us or not. This hassle-free service means customers will know exactly what they will get and all they need do is pop in to one of our branches and complete the transaction.

Customers should simply text SELL followed by the amount to 07786 207 053 and ICE will respond with a no obligation quote.
What do you do with your leftover holiday currency?

  • Nothing, save it for my next trip 49%
  • Convert it when I arrive home 32%
  • Spend it at the airport 32%
  • Spend it on drinks or a meal 18%
  • Buy gifts for family/friends 16%
  • Use it to tip staff 12%
  • Give it to charity 2.7%

*Source: ICE survey of 2,062 UK adults conducted by Consumer Intelligence 5-11 March 2014
**Sample of 248 ICE customers – September 2014