When it’s not raining, picnics are the perfect summer activity and can easily be made Covid friendly, even for slightly larger gatherings. Here are some tips on how to organise yours.
DO bring something to sit on. A picnic wouldn’t be a picnic without a picnic blanket! Bring enough blankets or towels for everyone to sit on and maybe some pillows for extra comfort.
DON’T bring food that’s difficult to eat. Because you’ll likely be sitting on the ground, food that needs to be eaten with a knife and fork should not be your first choice. Instead, opt for foods that can be eaten with your hands, such as sandwiches, fruit, and vegetables with dips; or foods that you don’t need to cut and can be easily eaten with just a fork, such as salads or dry cakes.
DO bring some games. Games can make the picnic more fun and entertaining for everyone involved, children and adults. There are so many different possibilities, ranging from card games to football and badminton. You probably know what your group or family likes most, so just pack that and maybe one other alternative, just in case you get bored of your favourite.
DON’T pack food that spoils easily. Hopefully, it will be a warm nice day when you go for your picnic. However, the summer weather also means that you are limited in what you can safely pack and eat. Avoid dishes with ingredients like mayonnaise, cream, or raw meat as they often spoil quicker than you can eat them in the heat. If you still decide to bring such foods, ensure that they are cooled throughout and avoid eating them if they smell or look funny to avoid any chance of getting food poisoning.
DO pick the location carefully. Make sure that you’re allowed to picnic in your chosen area and that it is accessible for everyone in your group. If you take small children, you might want to consider a place that is close to public bathrooms, just in case the picnic drags on.
DON’T forget about coolers. Even if you bring food that doesn’t easily spoil it is good to keep it cold during the summer heat. Coolers will also keep your drinks cool, which is another benefit. Just keep in mind that coolers are often rather bulky and not suitable for long walks. You can also freeze water bottles and put them in your bag, that way you’ll keep your food cool and have water to drink as it starts defrosting.
DO consider bringing camping chairs and tables. If your picnic is likely to carry on all afternoon you might find that camping chairs spare you from back pain. Sitting on the ground for hours on end can get uncomfortable, whereas camping chairs offer a bit more support. These chairs are also good if your picnic is a family gathering where older people might not be able to sit on the ground. Alternatively, you can look for a place with picnic benches.
DON’T litter. For the love of nature and the people around you please don’t leave your rubbish behind after you’re done picnicking. Dispose of it in (not next to) the bins around you and if they are already full - or if you simply have too much rubbish - take it home. For that reason it’s a good idea to bring some bin bags with you.
DO opt for reusable plates and cutlery. Paper utensils are lighter and can be thrown out rather than cleaned, but they also create a tonne of waste. Unless you’re taking your picnic on a hike you should, as much as possible, bring reusable plates and cutlery. If normal plates are too heavy you can opt for stainless steel or Tupperware utensils. Using the latter will also prevent you from littering, as you wouldn’t want to leave those behind.
DON’T think you need a picnic basket. There are a lot of fancy and expensive picnic baskets out there and although they look cute and are often practical they might not be worth the investment. Unless you plan on making picnics a regular occurrence, you should be able to manage with the bags, baskets, and boxes you already have at home and don’t need to buy a specific basket for just one afternoon.
DO combine your picnic with other activities. Depending on your chosen spot, your picnic can easily be transformed into a daytrip. It can, for instance, be combined with a day at the lake or even a hike, making it more exciting than a simple meal outside.
DON’T play loud music in public spaces. This is pretty obvious but if you choose spaces like public parks or forests it is inconsiderate to play loud music just because you want to enjoy yourselves. Chances are that the people around you won’t like it very much. Playing some music is fine, just be aware of the volume.
DO prepare as much as possible at home. You don’t want to start chopping and making sandwiches while sitting on the grass. To avoid this hassle try to prepare as much as possible at home. Most fruits and vegetables can be kept in airtight containers and enjoyed hours after you first sliced them.
Enjoy your picnic!