Most regular business travellers will agree that the first words that greet them when they return home are often “Where’s my present?” rather than “So glad you’re home”. But what do you do if you are on the return journey and suddenly realise you have forgotten to buy something? Seasoned traveller (and resourceful gift-buyer) Mark Frary shares his lifesaving tips
1. Mobile broadband, the forgetful traveller’s friend
Many train companies now have wi-fi on board while 3G mobile networks are pretty universal across the country. What this means is that you can whip out your laptop or smartphone and place an order on the journey home.
Instead of buying an inappropriate present, why not forget presents altogether. “Darling, I decided to surprise you by taking you out to a restaurant instead of buying you a packet of chocolate chip cookies from the buffet car.”
Another idea would be to do an online food shop, ordering a romantic meal in time for your return. www.tesco.com can sort you out for a same day delivery.
2. Amazon’s evening service
If you live inside the M25 or in certain parts of Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Nottingham, Sheffield, Leeds, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Bristol or Cardiff, you can take advantage of Amazon’s Evening Delivery service. The service is available for many products sold through Amazon.co.uk (not third parties or international sites), including Kindles. The delivery charge is a hefty £14.99 but if your marriage depends on it, it is money well spent.
3. The train shop
These days, rail buffets no longer just serve up curly sandwiches. If you have young kids at home expecting a present from Mummy or Daddy and you are travelling on Virgin Trains back home, grab a couple of Vkids Bags for them. The bags are filled with colouring pencils, notebook, chalkboard, stickers and a magazine.
4. Reduce, reuse, recycle
There’s an hour left of the train journey till you get home and you’re running out of ideas. All you have is the notes from your sales presentation earlier in the day. Rather than throwing them in the bin, be creative and reuse them. Go to www.doctororigami.com or download one of the many free origami apps for your smartphone and use your waste paper to create something magical – roses, unicorns and peacocks are suitably romantic.
5. Rebook for two
If you are paying the hotel bill, what about bringing your partner back for a romantic break? Some of the Best Western Premier hotels, such as the Mount Pleasant in Doncaster, have their own spas. Book a saucy weekend and a treatment voucher as you settle up for your business trip. Don’t put it on the company credit card though.
6. Failing all that…
Pop into WH Smith at the airport or railway station on the way, buy a reel of ribbon and then wrap yourself in a bow before walking through the door.
Read more from Mark on his blog. He can be found at www.markfrary.com.