I’ve had many a conversation (or debate) with people on this topic. I, like many other people in the US, dream of one day visiting all 50 states. However, there seems to be some discrepancy as to what constitutes “visiting” a state.
For my purposes, the following criteria must be met before a state can be checked off:
- Driving through does not count. Even if you stop to go to the bathroom or take a picture.
- Layovers at airports do not count.
- You must either:
a. Stay overnight.
b. Visit for a specific planned purpose. (For example, if you’re visiting D.C. but you go to Virginia for the entire day to do some site seeing, you can count it. However, if you’re in D.C. and you walk across the border just to say you were in Virginia, then go back to your D.C. hotel, it doesn’t count.)
c. Make repeated short visits. (For example, I went to college on the Illinois side of the Mississippi, but made several shopping and dinner trips to the Iowa side. I never had any reason to stay in Iowa, but I count it because quick trips across the border were a regular occurrence.)
Based on these criteria, here is my current states-I’ve-visited map: