I love the thrill of getting new banknotes when you’ve crossed a new border. Even as a child I collected them, thanks to a collection from the Sunday Times (a paper my Dad used to buy every week!). I was fascinated by geography as a child and my banknote collection grew and grew.
However it wasn’t until I started travelling that I felt I was really collecting them, as I had visited that country and received that note as change for something I bought. But it gets expensive and it’s also bulky to keep carrying different notes around with you, so I came up with a plan…
I collect ONE note from each new country I visit, and I normally choose the note with the lowest value. I’ve got up to about 45 countries now, from the 70 that I have visited (please note some of them use the same currency i.e. Spain and Italy – Euros, USA and Ecuador – US Dollars, England and Wales – Bank of England Sterling etc.) and also other unusual notes I come across (e.g. the Guernsey one pound note).
I also collect notes that don’t exist anymore and currencies that don’t exist anymore (e.g. the German Mark).
So yes, I love collecting banknotes and I will continue to do so!
Here are my favourite banknotes:
£5 Northern Irish Northern Banknote – with George Best on it (released in 2005 on limited edition – if you have one, keep it).
5,000 North Korean Won note bought inside the DMZ (* foreigners entering North Korea are NOT ALLOWED to use North Korean Won – it’s Euros, RMB and US Dollars there).
2,000 Paraguayan Guarani shiny plastic note – Paraguayan notes are really old and dirty, it was nice to be handed a clean one, so I kept it.
There will be a load more money related posts to come by the way! People often ask me what do I do for withdrawing money on the road (and I will write about it at some point as a Monday’s Money Saving Tip or a Tuesday’s Travel Essential.) I normally carry US Dollars everywhere and change them, I commonly use Travelex Exchange to swap them over BEFORE entering a country though bear in mind that sometimes in a rush I wait until I’m in that country. You can check here for the Travelex Currency Converter site. I try to keep tabs on the Exchange Rates but to be honest, as a constant traveller you don’t always have time to keep track, so I just head to the Travelex and get it swapped over. I also sometimes use local exchange places, but I don’t use the ones at the borders unless I’m desperate (they are the ones that NORMALLY charge more).
Happy travels, happy collecting banknotes!
PS – If I ever fall on bad times and run out of cash, I’ll round up all my notes together, I’ll probably have enough for a week in Taiwan…
7 thoughts on “Travel Collectables: Banknotes”
I just started doing this too when we arrived in South America, collecting one of the lowest value note of each country we visit (much less weight to carry than coins!). But I couldn’t imagine keeping a £5 note just as a souvenir; it seems like way too much money *not* to spend!
Sam recently posted…Guide to Lake Titicaca
Nice one Sam, I’ve kept 3 £5 pound notes before (1 old fiver with George Stephenson on it, 1 Northern Irish fiver with George Best on it and a Gibraltar one)! If I ever get stuck for money thats £15 already!
Get ready to keep your $1 US Dollar note then when you hit Ecuador…or you could scour the markets for an old note of when Ecuador had its own currency.
Safe travels. Jonny
Great tip Jonny! These treasures are easy enough to come by as you need some anyway, and they’re easy to pack/carry as you go. Fun to display post trip too.
Still have a stash of Lire and Drachmas from the old days. 😀
Maria recently posted…Wordless Wednesday – Liquid Art
You want to see my collection Maria (didnt actually have the photos to post as its now held in a box at my parents place!). I also collect coins, will cover that at some point. Wrote a list of 1,000 new posts to write. Better get started!! Got drachmas, francs, pesetas and gilders but never made it to Italy while the Lire was used! Jonny