Travelling Abroad? Don’t Bring Back These 10 Foreign Currencies

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10 Foreign Currencies To Avoid Bringing Back To India - Social Media - Blog

Some people love bringing back foreign banknotes as souvenirs or for their collection from a trip abroad. Sure, that is ok. This post is not about that. 

However, some travellers bring back leftover foreign currency notes in bulk, thinking, they can exchange them back in India. 

When it comes to India, some currencies are better left abroad.

Also Read: What Is The Best Way To Carry Cash When Travelling Abroad?

You can’t exchange them here which can be an unexpected post-trip headache.


Many Indian banks and currency exchange companies give foreign currency notes from certain countries the cold shoulder because;

  1. Lack of demand for these currencies

    Travellers usually just buy US dollars and convert it to the local currency after going abroad. So banks and currency exchanges refrain from taking exotic currency notes with very low demand among travellers.
  2. Stock unpredictability and space, effort, time, and cost overheadsLet’s say exchanges decide to accept leftover exotic currencies from foreign return travellers. When it comes to selling these currencies, they would not have good options regarding the various denominations. Also, not enough volume to serve plus maintain this currency separately in their stock. Holding onto lesser-demanded forex requires extra space, effort, cost and time. Too many overheads. Basically, the cost-to-benefit ratio is not so great.
  3. The existence of the US dollar as a universal currencyIn the grand scheme of foreign exchange, it’s simpler and more efficient for these institutions to deal with major currencies like the USD. The US dollar is universally accepted for exchange.

Also Read: 10 Things to Know Before Buying Foreign Exchange in India

So to avoid this situation, read on.

10 Foreign Currencies You Shouldn’t Bring Back to India 

1. Sri Lankan Rupee

Sri Lankan Rupee Currency Notes

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India shares a deep-rooted history with Sri Lanka, and many Indians travel there for pilgrimage to places like the ancient city of Anuradhapura or the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy. Additionally, the nation’s serene beaches and lush green landscapes make it a popular honeymoon destination. However, bringing back a pocketful of Sri Lankan Rupees might leave you with a pile of notes that no one in India wants.

2. Indonesian Rupiah

Indonesian Rupiah Currency Notes

Many Indian travellers flock to Indonesia, especially Bali, for its pristine beaches, vibrant arts scene, and water temples. The Indonesian Rupiah, with thousands to a dollar, can make anyone feel like a millionaire. While Bali remains a top spot for honeymooners and groups of friends seeking a tropical escape, remember that exchanging the Rupiah back in India can be more trouble than it’s worth.

3. Maldivian Rufiyaa

Indonesian Rupiah Currency Notes

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Known for its crystal-clear blue waters, over-water villas, and coral reefs, the Maldives has become the go-to honeymoon destination for many Indian couples. The Maldivian Rufiyaa might capture the essence of the islands on its banknotes, but it doesn’t capture the interest of Indian currency exchangers.

Also Read: 20 Weird Banknotes With Bizarre Backstories

4. Turkish Lira

Turkish Lira Currency Notes

From the awe-inspiring architecture of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul to the unique rock formations of Cappadocia, Turkey offers a blend of history, natural beauty, and a paradise for cat lovers. Its streets often feature friendly feline residents, capturing the hearts of many visitors. The Turkish Lira, unfortunately, doesn’t find many takers back in India. So, while Turkey remains a hotspot for Indian families, history enthusiasts, and cat aficionados, it’s wise to spend your Lira within its enchanting borders.

5. Russian Ruble

Russian Rubles Currency Notes

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Russia, with its sprawling landscapes from Moscow’s Red Square to the frozen tundras of Siberia, attracts Indian travellers of all types. Whether it’s friends setting out on the Trans-Siberian railway adventure or solo travellers exploring St. Petersburg’s art scene, Russia offers a plethora of experiences. However, the Russian Ruble rarely finds its way back into the Indian forex market.

Also Read: What Currency Should You Take To Russia On A Visit?

6. Vietnamese Dong

Vietnamese Dong Currency Notes

Vietnam’s bustling markets, mouth-watering street food, and serene landscapes like Ha Long Bay draw Indians looking for an affordable yet rich travel experience. Many solo backpackers and food enthusiasts find their way to this Southeast Asian gem. But the Vietnamese Dong, despite its significance, doesn’t resonate with Indian currency exchange booths.

Also Read: How To Carry Money When Travelling To Vietnam From India

7. Philippine Peso

Philippine peso Currency Notes

With over 7,000 islands, the Philippines is a beach lover’s paradise. Places like Boracay and Palawan see Indian honeymooners and adventure seekers year-round. While the Filipino Peso mirrors the nation’s diverse culture and history, it’s a currency best not taken back to Indian shores.

8. Mauritian Rupee

Mauritian Rupee Currency Notes

Mauritius, with its sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and the famous Morne Brabant Mountain, is a dream for many Indian honeymooners. The Mauritian Rupee might have the essence of the island’s Creole culture, but it’s not a favourite amongst Indian forex dealers.

9. South Korean Won

South Korean Won Currency Notes

South Korea’s vibrant pop culture, historical sites like Gyeongbokgung Palace, and stunning landscapes such as Jeju Island, appeal to a range of Indian travellers, from pop culture enthusiasts to families. However, the South Korean Won, despite its importance on the global stage, doesn’t see a warm reception in India’s currency market.

10. Seychellois Rupee

Seychellois Rupee Currency Notes

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An archipelago of 115 islands, Seychelles boasts white-sand beaches like Anse Source d’Argent and unique granite boulders. A favoured spot for Indian luxury travellers and newlyweds, the Seychellois Rupee, however, doesn’t find much admiration back home.

When travelling to any of the countries above, take US dollars and convert it to the local currency after reaching there. In the same way, when returning from your trip, remember to spend the leftover currency or convert it back to USD. Overlooking this step can lead to post-trip hassles. In such cases, your best bet might be gifting or donating balance forex to your friends or relatives with travel plans to these nations. 

A crucial tip to remember: no foreign coins, including those of US dollars, are accepted for exchange in India.

Ultimately, in any foreign trip, the best souvenirs to bring back are the memories we make and not unexchangeable banknotes.

Also Read: 10 Countries Where The Indian Rupee Would Let You Spend Lavishly!


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