Packing for the 3 Cards 3 Continents Challenge: A Traveler’s Dilemma

Embarking on the 3 Cards 3 Continents challenge, the author set out on an adventure filled with credit card welcome bonuses and global exploration. This unique challenge, orchestrated by the travel enthusiasts at Frequent Miler, requires participants to curate their dream three-continent trip using only the bonuses from three credit cards.

Although the author was eager to share their packing strategy before setting off on this thrilling journey, circumstances made it a bit tricky. They and their spouse had just returned from a month-long European trip, providing them with a limited window to prepare for the upcoming 3 Cards 3 Continents adventure.

The packing challenge was intensified by the fact that the author typically lives in shorts, t-shirts, and flip-flops due to their eight-year, 50-state road trip, where they chase warm weather year-round. Despite this, their latest challenge was set to encompass more varied climates, introducing an element of unpredictability into their packing dilemma.

The Packing Predicament

The primary packing dilemma revolved around the necessity of footwear. Given the author’s warm-weather preferences and the potential for temperate climates at their destinations, they contemplated traveling with just flip-flops. After all, past experiences like the 40K To Far Away challenge had seen them walk miles in flip-flops without issues. Their recent European trip also confirmed the practicality of relying solely on flip-flops for footwear.

However, there was a potential hiccup in their plans. The upcoming trip could take an unexpected turn in terms of weather, potentially leading to rain and muddy conditions. This possibility raised concerns about trudging through mud in flip-flops, a situation that would be far from ideal. Not only could it be uncomfortable, but it might also soil the author’s limited clothing supply.

A Not-So-Genius Solution

The author initially came up with a creative solution to address this issue: waterproof shoe covers to slip over their flip-flops. This seemed like a brilliant fix, as it would keep their feet clean and dry, providing a practical response to muddy conditions. However, their ingenious solution was met with skepticism when their wife saw what the waterproof shoe covers looked like.

The covers were thin, and even when doubled up, they didn’t inspire confidence in their ability to withstand mud. Additionally, they were loosely attached to the flip-flops, making it likely that the mud could pull them off during the journey. In hindsight, the author realized that their solution was less than ideal, and they needed a new plan.

The Ultimate Solution

The author’s real problem was the misconception that they were limited to carrying just one bag due to their flights on low-cost carriers and small airplanes. However, a reexamination of the rules revealed that they could bring both their hiking backpack and a smaller rucksack. This additional space allowed them to include a pair of tennis shoes, which would be essential for navigating muddy terrain.

The author outlined their packing list, detailing every item they brought for the 3 Cards 3 Continents challenge:


  1. Mountaintop 40L Hiking Backpack
  2. Eddie Bauer rucksack

Footwear: 3. Tennis shoes

  1. Flip-flops (Reef Rover)

Clothing: 5. 7 t-shirts

  1. 3 pairs of shorts
  2. 1 pair of pants
  3. Underwear
  4. Raincoat
  5. 1 shirt
  6. 1 pair of socks
  7. Swimming shorts
  8. Hat
  9. Microfiber towel
  10. Poncho
  11. Shoe coverings

Electronics: 17. Laptop

  1. Portable charger
  2. USB-C charger
  3. International plug adapter
  4. Webcam
  5. 2 phones
  6. Car charger
  7. Headphones
  8. Phone splitter

Nourishment: 26. Frequent Miler water bottle

  1. Oatmeal bars
  2. Gum

Miscellaneous: 29. Toiletries

  1. Pen
  2. Waterproof phone case
  3. Spare glasses and sunglasses
  4. Wallet
  5. British passport
  6. Face masks
  7. Plastic shopping bag (for dirty laundry)

This extensive packing list reflects the author’s anticipation of varied conditions during the 3 Cards 3 Continents journey. Some items may prove to be redundant, but the author is more comfortable carrying them along just in case.

As they prepared to embark on their positioning flights, the author remained excited about the experiences awaiting them during this unique challenge. The journey would undoubtedly bring a mix of climate conditions and adventures across three continents, making their extensive packing preparations a wise choice.

Stay tuned to discover the full scope of the 3 Cards 3 Continents adventure and follow the author’s journey through a series of exciting travel experiences.

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