I set off on my 3 Cards 3 Continents trip last night, flying the new airline Norse Atlantic Airways in Premium Economy from JFK to London.

What is 3 Cards, 3 Continents?

Frequent Miler loves creating fun and competitive team challenges. This year Greg, Nick, and Stephen are competing to book the most amazing 3-continent dream-trip using 3 credit card welcome bonuses.

I’d wanted to publish a post before setting off sharing what I was going to bring with me, but doing that was a little tricky. My wife and I spent the last month in Europe, only getting back to the US a few days ago. We were busy for the couple of days after that, so I didn’t get a chance to pack for 3 Cards 3 Continents until the night before I took a positioning flight to New York ready for the trip.

With limited space in my backpack and needing enough clothing for a 10 day trip, my biggest dilemma was whether I should bring shoes with me.

This is everything I’m bringing with me

It might sound strange that I’d question whether I should bring shoes on an international trip lasting a week-and-a-half, but hear me out. I’m on an 8 year, 50 state road trip and we tend to head south in the winter and north in the summer, so we’re generally in fairly temperate areas. As a result, most of the year I live in shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops.

During the 40K To Far Away challenge a few years ago, I walked 10 miles at a time around cities in flip-flops. On the European trip we just got back from, flip-flops were the only footwear I brought with me and that worked out fine.

As for 3 Cards 3 Continents, most of the places I’ll be visiting will be warm and so relying on flip-flops would be OK, but there’s an exception. The place I’m flying on to over the next couple of days won’t be quite as warm, but should still be a reasonable enough temperature. However, their weather is unpredictable and so it might end up raining while I’m there.

I’m fine walking around in flip-flops in the rain too, but where I’m going rain = mud and I’ve a feeling I could be traipsing around in a lot of mud for a couple of hours. That’s far from ideal, especially as it could increase the likelihood that I’d slip over in the mud, getting my limited clothing supply dirty too.

My Original Solution

A few nights ago I had what I initially thought was a genius solution. I ordered some waterproof shoe covers that I could slip over my flip-flops to keep my feet both clean and dry. Those arrived overnight at our friends’ house where we’d be arriving the next day, but when my wife saw what they looked like, Shae said something to the effect of “You can’t seriously be thinking of dressing like that – I’m glad I’m not going on this trip after all!”

Coming soon to a catwalk near you: Smurf canoes.

Smurf canoes
My original “solution”

In hindsight, this wasn’t such a genius idea. The shoe covers are fairly thin and even when doubling up the covers on each foot, they don’t give the impression of being overly resilient. The covers are also attached fairly loosely, so mud would likely just pull them off.

I didn’t think I had much of a choice though because there was limited space in the hiking backpack I’m using for this trip and there simply wasn’t enough space for my tennis shoes to come along.

The Solution

My real problem was that I’d been laboring under an incorrect assumption. I’m flying with a low cost carrier during my trip as well as taking some flights on small airplanes with fewer than a dozen passenger seats. I thought that meant I was restricted to one bag, but when double checking I realized that I could take both the backpack and a smaller rucksack. That extra room made all the difference, so my pair of tennis shoes have made their way with me even though I’ll likely only need them for a maximum of a few hours on this trip.

What I’ve Packed

I included a photo of everything I’ve packed for my 3 Cards 3 Continents trip at the top of this post, but here it is again so that you don’t have to scroll all the way up:

Here’s what’s made it along on the trip:

Bags

  • Mountaintop 40L Hiking Backpack
  • Eddie Bauer rucksack

Footwear

  • Tennis shoes
  • Flip-flops (in case anyone’s curious as to what flip-flops I live in, they’re Reef Rover)

Clothing

  • 7 t-shirts
  • 3 pairs of shorts
  • 1 pair of pants
  • Underwear
  • Raincoat
  • 1 shirt
  • 1 pair of socks
  • Swimming shorts
  • Hat
  • Microfiber towel (not really clothing unless I want to wear it like a scarf like Greg suggested)
  • Poncho
  • Shoe coverings (I brought these anyway in case my shoes get muddy so that it doesn’t get other items in my backpack dirty afterwards)

Electronics

  • Laptop
  • Portable charger
  • USB-C charger
  • International plug adapter
  • Webcam (Frequent Miler OnlyFans coming soon)
  • 2 phones (one is spare in case something happens to my main phone)
  • Car charger (I’m renting a car tonight)
  • Headphones (I’m a little annoyed that after realizing I could bring along the rucksack as well that I didn’t think to bring my noise-cancelling headphones as there would’ve been space for them)
  • Phone splitter (I have a Google Pixel 6 & it doesn’t have a headphone jack, so it needs a dongle to use wired headphones. This splitter means I can also charge my phone at the same time)

Nourishment

  • Frequent Miler water bottle
  • Oatmeal bars
  • Gum (because just like Monica in Friends, I will always have gum)

Miscellaneous

  • Toiletries
  • Pen (to make filling out forms easier)
  • Waterproof phone case
  • Spare glasses & sunglasses
  • Wallet (with more than 3 cards in it)
  • British passport (hopefully this proves to the person watching Ask Us Anything the other night that my British accent isn’t fake 😉 )
  • Face masks (in case anywhere requires them)
  • Plastic shopping bag (for dirty laundry)

I’ve a feeling that some of what I’ve brought might be overkill. If my destination tomorrow hasn’t been raining, I probably won’t need the tennis shoes at all. Similarly, that raincoat could be unnecessary. Seven t-shirts might be more than I need, especially seeing as Nick is relying on only two shirts.

If those items end up being redundant, I could’ve done away with the extra rucksack. However, I’d have been more sad not having them if I did need them than I’ll be having to lug them around and not have to make use of them.

Anyway, it’s almost time for the first of two positioning flights before an experience I’m very excited about. One of those flights is this afternoon and the other is tomorrow morning – stay tuned to find out what I’m up to.

By AKDSEO