When tallying how many U.S. states you have been to, what is your criteria?

You tell me you have been to x number of states.

Define “been to” by checking all options that apply.

Please elaborate as necessary.

Actually stood on a sidewalk or street or the ground, outside of the airport/train station/bus depot…

Or…drove more than twenty miles through the state…

Flying over doesn’t count. Taking a train or bus through doesn’t count.

Staying overnight is a big plus, and cements the claim. Eating a full meal also is good for extra credibility points.

Stepping over the state border, out in the desert somewhere, and taking a long, satisfying piss does not count…but was morally gratifying.

I count everything but flown over. But if I just connected at the airport, I give that disclaimer. Actually, on second thought, I give disclaimers for each of those cases.

I don’t count a state unless I’ve been in every county/parish in that state. I’ve been in 48. Most of them, I’ve been in every county at least twice.

I don’t think I’ve ever slept overnight in New Hampshire. Maybe not in Connecticut, either,except in my car at a truck stop,

I count it if I’ve peed there.

I count it if I’ve at least driven through it. However, I don’t think there’s any state that I have driven or taken a bus through where I haven’t gotten out at a diner or gas station at least once, so “set foot in” probably applies.

I don’t count stopovers at airports, but I’ve since been to the two states that once applied to.

I’ve been to 49 states. I’m only missing North Dakota.

For my first pass through all 50 states, I counted any non-airport land visit, even if I never got out of a car. Later on I went back and spent at least one night in all 50 states.

I drove a big rig for 11 years. I don’t count the states I’ve driven through. I count the states I’ve NEVER driven through.

Seems to me that one should have some basis for, say, telling how the state differs from the others. Spending a night there should provide at least some way of doing that.

[hijack]Another thread topic could be, Which States Are Completely Interchangeable? [/hijack]


Sleeping in the airport overnight when it closes due to weather doesn’t count. However, I think driving/busing/training through a state should count.

I’d count sleeping in the airport overnight, but not simply changing planes.

I’d count doing anything in the state beyond simply traveling through it.

My personal criteria is to have set foot on the ground (non-airport). So driving through, not good enough. Driving through and getting out at rest stop, counts.

47 states. My criteria is that you have to have some interaction with people from that state. This might be talking to the waiter/waitress, gas station attendant, etc.
Airports don’t count.

Have to have done something there other than driving, changing planes or having a rest stop.

Some combination of the last 3. I haven’t decided whether simply setting foot in a non-airport location is sufficient or if I have to deliberately visit somewhere in the state. That would be a more stringent requirement than sleeping in a state because I don’t count that as “visiting”.

I’m only pretty sure I’ve “been” to West Virginia. I’ve slept there several times on travel but have never gone out of my way to see anything there. However, last time I was in Morgantown, I was close enough to downtown that I thought I may as well look around. But I didn’t say beforehand “hey, I’d like to stay in Morgantown tonight so I can see it!” I’d say it still barely counts, though.

On the other hand, I do count New Hampshire, even though I’ve stayed there less than 10 minutes, because I crossed the river from Brattleboro just to say that I’ve been to New Hampshire.

I know I’ve been to West Virginia because they have a huge Golden Temple there, of all places. (I guess real estate was cheap…?)

I’ve been to most of the Northeastern states. Southwest is almost completely untouched. I count actually stepping foot outside an airport as “visiting”.

Driving through counts for me. If I only see the airport, I don’t count it. But if I venture off the airport, I do. So I count Minnesota because I left the airport to go to Mall of America, I do not count Texas because I didn’t leave the airport. You must also pee in the state, but again airports don’t count. If you merely walk outside the airport it doesn’t count.


Transferring planes doesn’t count, but driving through a section, staying overnight, visiting part of the state, etc… do.

For example, I won’t claim Illinois as anywhere I’ve ever been, even though I’ve changed planes in O’Hare Airport a couple of times.

Similarly, New Jersey doesn’t count for me, even though I’ve driven up the NJ Turnpike from Newark Airport to Ft. Lee, and from there, up the Palisades parkway to where it goes into New York. Even got gas at some point (and got barked at by the attendant for getting out to pump myself!)

Oklahoma doesn’t count either- we drove through as a kid on the way to my Aunt and Uncle’s house in Kansas, but other than stopping to pee, I don’t think we actually did anything other than drive on the interstate.