Pack a picnic and enjoy days out for less

‘Are we there yet?’ ‘I’m hungry’ ‘I want an ice cream!’ Ahhh, the Great British day trip. With the weather hotting up and the summer holidays approaching, we’re sure you’ll be planning your adventures soon. There’s nothing better than getting the whole family in the car and setting off for the day to explore a new city, go on a hike or have fun at the zoo, but with lots of hungry mouths to feed, if you’re out for the whole day, the cost of all those drinks, snacks and lunches can quickly add up. The solution? Pack up a picnic.

Purse-friendly picnic ideas

Food at zoos, theme parks and in popular tourist destinations can be pretty pricey, so taking your own food for the day can really help to keep the costs down – and take the sting out of the admission fees.

Savvy sandwiches

Rather than buying packs of sliced meat for your sandwiches, which can be quite expensive (and not always the best quality), cook a gammon, joint of beef or a whole chicken. You can use any leftovers for meals later in the week, and you can freeze slices for another day too. Alternatively, you can use the leftovers from your Sunday roast. You can’t beat a roast chicken and stuffing sarnie.

Cheese or egg sandwiches are cost-effective and easy to make in large quantities – ideal if you have a large family to feed. Just make sure you have a good cool bag – no one likes a warm egg sandwich! A simple salad can be a nice way to add extra flavour and texture, and you can keep costs down by choosing cheaper salad items that go a long way, like cucumber and whole lettuces.

Snack time

You tend to do a lot of additional walking about on a day trip, so you can never have too many snacks. Ensuring you have enough food to keep everyone satisfied all day means you’re less likely to need to stop off at any food stalls, shops or cafes, so you can save your money for activities. Veg sticks and hummus, nuts, crisps, fruit – there are so many options for quick, easy snacks.

Stay hydrated

Remember to take enough water or juice to keep everyone hydrated for the day. If each member of the family has their own reusable water bottle to carry around with them, no one will have to lug heavy drinks around, and you’ll save money by not having to buy bottles of water while you’re out – you won’t be adding to the single-use plastic mountain either. Lots of places provide free drinking water top-ups too – look out for water fountains and dispensers while you’re walking around.

If you like to have a caffeine fix during the day, an insulated flask will keep your coffee or tea at the perfect drinking temperature throughout the day, and will save you from expensive coffee shop prices.

Posh picnics

If you fancy something a bit more special on your picnic, here are some of our favourite recipes. A real treat for the taste buds, and still lighter on your purse than buying your food in a café or from a food cart.

Thai prawn mini bakesThai prawn mini bakes

Bursting with fresh, zingy flavours, these bite-sized fishcakes are perfect for picnics. Made in our 24-hole silicone mini loaf mould, they’re already portioned up, so there’ll be no arguments over who gets the bigger slice.  

Smoked Salmon & Cucumber Mini-Mousse SandwichesSmoked Salmon & Cucumber Mini-Mousse Sandwiches

Sure to make you feel super-fancy, these dinky sandwiches are perfect for a day at the races or a birthday picnic in the park. They go nicely with a glass of bubbly too…

Speaking of bubbly, with our party-proof Crystal Acrylic Flutes, you can sip your fizz in style, without worrying about breakages. Cheers to that!Crystal Acrylic Flutes

And for dessert… Blueberry & Lemon Curd Mini SpongesBlueberry & Lemon Curd Mini Sponges

These little sponges are easy to make with the help of our 12-Hole Loose-Based Mini Sandwich Tin, and the combination of sweet blueberries and zingy lemon curd is truly divine. Save one for us!

Keep your cool

Ice cream – a must on any summer day trip. But they’re not cheap, are they? Especially in tourist destinations, where the cost of ice cream cones can be eyewatering to say the least. With the help of an insulated food flask and a cool bag, you can include ice cream or lollies in your picnic.

Making your own ice lollies costs very little – simply fill a lolly mould with your favourite fruit squash for delicious results. Pop them in an insulated flask, and enjoy your refreshing frozen treat during your day out.

Making your own ice cream can be a fun activity to do with the kids before your picnic, and if you pop your finished ice cream in an insulated food flask, pack some cones and chocolate flakes, you can enjoy a round of 99s for a fraction of the usual price. Don’t have an ice cream maker? Our Quick Strawberry Ice Cream recipe is super easy to make and all you need is a bowl and 3 ingredients – frozen strawberries, honey and Greek yoghurt.

Pack it up, pack it in

You’ve prepared your picnic food, gathered your snacks and drinks, and now you need to transport everything. An essential for any picnic is a good-quality insulated cool bag to help keep your food fresh – add an ice pack, and it’ll stay nice and cool for even longer. A cool bag with separate compartments for napkins, cutlery and other bits and bobs is useful too. And to avoid opening your picnic bag to find your lovingly prepared picnic transformed to a mushed-up mess, we suggest using sturdy food storage boxes – it’ll make it much easier to pack your food in your cool bag too.

As well as keeping your food cool, if you’re taking hot food on your day trip, a reflective foil-lined insulated bag will also keep your food warm until you’re ready to tuck in.

Holiday treats

Sometimes it’s nice to treat yourself to something you didn’t make when you’re out and about, so a good money-saving compromise is to choose one thing you’ll treat yourself and the family to on your day trip, like a cake or an ice cream. Go on, you deserve it.

Whatever you end up doing this summer, we hope you have a great one. Enjoy!

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