Advertiser Disclosure

Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which we receive financial compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). However, the credit card information that we publish has been written and evaluated by experts who know these products inside out. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers that are on the market. See our advertising policy here where we list advertisers that we work with, and how we make money. You can also review our credit card rating methodology.

The U.S. States With the Most Overpackers [2024 Survey]

Alex Miller's image
Alex Miller
Alex Miller's image

Alex Miller

Founder & CEO

295 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 34U.S. States Visited: 29

Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, Alex is a leader in the industry and has earned and redeemed millions of points and miles. He frequently discusses the award travel industry with CNBC, Fox Business...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
Keri Stooksbury's image

Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

35 Published Articles 3236 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 47U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now editor-in-chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

We may be compensated when you click on product links, such as credit cards, from one or more of our advertising partners. Terms apply to the offers below. See our Advertising Policy for more about our partners, how we make money, and our rating methodology. Opinions and recommendations are ours alone.

We all know that proper preparation prevents poor outcomes. But there’s one subset of travelers who push that axiom to its limit: the ones who fight tooth and nail to get that suitcase zipper shut; the ones who try to fit their entire bedroom set into their carry-on; the ones who, despite those things, are still surprised their bag is over the weight limit when arriving at the airport. We’re talking, of course, about overpackers.

To learn more about the tendency to overpack, we conducted a nationwide survey to rummage through America’s suitcases and find out what packing habits look like. We asked respondents how much they typically pack, when they begin the packing process, and if additional fees play a role in their packing planning.

Which States Are Home to the Most Overpackers?

US States With Most and Least Overpackers
Image Credit: Upgraded Points

To unpack travel prep habits across the U.S., we asked survey respondents about their packing tendencies for weeklong trips. By analyzing the average responses for each state, we assigned a score to measure the degree of over or under-packing prevalence in each region. 

U.S. Averages

Before discussing overpacking trends, let’s take a look inside the typical American traveler’s checked bag. Here is the average number of clothes people pack for a weeklong trip:

  • Shirts/Tops: 8.4
  • Bottoms/Pants: 6.0
  • Shoes: 2.6
  • Underwear: 9.0
  • Socks: 7.4
  • Pajamas: 2.4
  • Dressy/Formal: 1.9

The States With the Most Overpackers

Pennsylvania tops the list of states with the most overpackers, boasting a remarkable score of 89.8 out of 100. The Keystone State earns this distinction by reporting higher-than-average quantities of shirts, pants, shoes, underwear, and socks packed for a 7-day trip. Pennsylvanians, for instance, pack over 10 shirts, nearly 8 pairs of pants, more than 3 pairs of shoes, a staggering 11 pairs(!) of underwear, and 9 pairs of socks for their weeklong travels.

Indiana follows closely behind, securing second place with a score of 70.8 out of 100. Hoosiers stand out for packing an average of 2.6 dressy or formal outfits when going away for a week, more than any other state. With such an emphasis on looking their best, we just hope they pack their dancing shoes, too.

Kentucky rounds out the top 3 with a score of 69.9 out of 100. Residents of the Bluegrass State are rarely short on trousers, averaging 7.6 pairs for their weeklong vacations, along with over 9 shirts, cementing their position as avid overpackers in our study.

The States With the Fewest Overpackers

Conversely, some states prefer to keep it light so they can just get up and go. Minnesota emerges as a standout in this regard, with an overpacking score of a mere 15.2 out of 100. Minnesotans demonstrate a penchant for minimalist packing, notably bringing the fewest pairs of pants (4.7) and shoes (2) on their 7-day journeys.

Following closely behind is Oregon, securing the second spot for light-packers with a score of 17.8 out of 100. Their low score can be attributed to their modest packing of shirts (7.5) and underwear (7.9), both of which rank lowest in our study. We’re pleased to see that even the lightest of packers still bring enough pairs of underwear to have at least 1 per day.

Rounding off the top 3 for light-packers is Washington, with a score of 18.7 out of 100. Washingtonians exhibit a preference for minimalist packing and maybe even cutting loose, bringing an average of just 4.7 pairs of pants and 1.6 pieces of more formal clothing for their weeklong trips. They know they don’t want to be too bogged down by collared shirts and slacks, and we respect that.

Interested in how your state packs? Search or filter through our table below to see if your packing habits align with the rest of the people where you’re from.

A Peek Inside the Suitcase: How the Average American Packs

Now that we’ve identified where the overpackers among us typically congregate, let’s dig through the unfolded clothes and half-used tiny toiletries to get a glimpse into how the average American packs their bags, from pre-trip prep to the struggles encountered while zipping up suitcases.

Packing Habits of Average American Traveler
Image Credit: Upgraded Points

First, our analysis unveiled how long before a trip Americans actually start packing. About 30% of respondents initiate packing 2 full days before embarking on their journey, while 23% prefer to start packing 3 to 4 days in advance. Surprisingly, 16% opt for an even earlier start, packing 5 to 7 days before departure. Meanwhile, a notable 29% admit to being last-minute packers, beginning the process just a day before their trip.

We then found out that 4 in 10 Americans intentionally overpack, which can lead to some wasted space in their luggage, as 40% admit to “often” or “always” returning home with clothes they never even wore. Interestingly, 40% of Americans also say they “often” have to fight their suitcase zipper shut, which makes sense considering all the data points to us being a nation of overpackers.

It isn’t just space concerns, though. Overpacking can cause some travelers financial frustration, as 19% of Americans have encountered the dreaded scenario of having to pay extra fees for overweight luggage while traveling by plane. If they just left a few of those unused clothes behind, their wallets wouldn’t be quite as light.

Even though paying for overweight luggage isn’t uncommon, the financial considerations of overpacking are at the forefront of traveler’s minds. Nearly 9 in 10 (89%) Americans would choose an airline offering more lenient baggage policies, such as allowing passengers additional carry-ons or complimentary checked bags.

Hot Tip:

If you’re an avid overpacker, find out how to avoid paying baggage fees at the airport.

Methodology 

To determine the states with the most overpackers, we surveyed 2,200 people in total from 44 U.S. states and asked them a series of questions about their typical packing habits. To ensure comparability between all respondents, every question about packing was based on a weeklong trip.

We assigned values to the answer choices for each question and averaged every state’s response. We scaled that number from 0 to 10 to create a “score” for each question and summed them all together to find out which state has the most overpackers among them.

Our questions asked about the number of different clothing items that are typically brought for a weeklong trip, how many bags are typically packed, and how long packing typically takes. We also asked several other packing-related questions about fighting suitcase zippers shut, airlines charging extra for overweight luggage, and how many days before the trip they start packing their bags.

Final Thoughts

The excitement of a big trip can lead us down a dangerous path. From beginning to pack 4 days early to intentionally bringing more than is necessary, it’s clear that we’re a nation of overpackers. Some of us (looking at you, Pennsylvanians) are much bigger culprits than others.

While packing a few extra sets of clothes “just in case” seems like a good idea on the front end, it can lead to actual financial implications when you arrive at the airport. So, the next time you’re thinking about tossing an extra pair of jeans or that dress you know you won’t actually wear on the packing pile, ask yourself this: “Is it really going to be worth it?” 

Alex Miller's image

About Alex Miller

Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, Alex is a leader in the industry and has earned and redeemed millions of points and miles. He frequently discusses the award travel industry with CNBC, Fox Business, The New York Times, and more.

INSIDERS ONLY: UP PULSE

Deluxe Travel Provided by UP Pulse

Get the latest travel tips, crucial news, flight & hotel deal alerts...

Plus — expert strategies to maximize your points & miles by joining our (free) newsletter.

We respect your privacy. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA. Google's privacy policy  and terms of service  apply.

Deluxe Travel Provided by UP Pulse
DMCA.com Protection Status