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Tour tip: Pockets full of “shrapnel”. What to do with all that foreign change.

International touring can leave you with pockets full of unexchangeable coins. Holding on to it with the intent of using it next time often fails to get rid of it all. More often what happens is you end up collecting more change. It can be like Sisyphus pushing that darn boulder up hill only to watch it roll back down again and start all over. This collateral effect is commonly referred to as “shrapnel”.

One suggestion I have learned of from a good friend and colleague is a way to turn this inescapable monetary loss into something most of us enjoy…coffee!

At some point before he leaves a country he drops by a Starbucks. Hands over all those local coins to the cashier and has it applied to his Starbucks card. This card can then be used at Starbucks all over the world. If turning that pocket weight into vanilla mocha skinny frappa lattes isn’t your thing, you can purchase other items at the globalized Mecca of caffeinated beverages like food, a newspaper, music CD or even a reusable thermos.

Even if you don’t like coffee or Starbucks in general I’m sure you know someone who does…gift it.

Now before you go waiting until the very last minute, note trying to do this at the airport before you head home doesn’t always work. These Starbucks associated stands do not always have the ability to put it on your card. Make sure to hit one that’s outside the airport. Also, by effectively turning that change into liquid gold, you can ultimately bypass the terrible exchange rates and fees  you get when converting money.