The Ultimate Packing Guide For The United States

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Have you been wondering what you need to pack for a trip to The United States. The country is HUGE and the weather and environment can change drastically from region to region. (it can change drastically from city to city for that matter.) I’ve compiled the ultimate packing guide for the United States, broken down by the six main regions, state, and by season. Let’s dive in!

The North East

The first region of the US I’m going to cover is the North East. The North Eastern US is comprised of Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and New York. Of course each of these states have their own individual climate and packing needs.

Usually, the states in the North East won’t get above 90F/32C in the peak of summer which occurs in July in this part of the country. On the other side of things, the winters can get very cold. The coldest months in the North East are January and December. The average low temperature for the North East is 25F/-4C. Keep in mind that this part of the country can go deep into the negatives during some parts of the winter.

The North East normally receives 12% more rain than the national average. You will experience the most rain here in either July or August. And the least amount of rain around February. With all this being said, what should you actually pack for your trip to the North East? Well, it depends on what season you are going in.

Packing List for the North East US in Winter & Fall

-warm waterproof boots
-winter jacket
-warm hat
-warm socks
-gloves
-scarf
-long sleeves
-sweaters
-pants
-sunglasses
-all of your normal toiletries, chargers, etc.
**always dress in layers

Packing List for the North East in Spring & Summer

-shorts/capris/skirts
-a pair of pants
-a long sleeves
-short sleeves
-tank tops
-bathing suits
-comfortable closed-toe walking shoes
-sandals
-rain boots
-lightweight jacket or pullover
-sun screen
-sunglasses
-hat/visor
-umbrella
-lightweight rain jacket
-all your normal toiletries, chargers, etc.
**it may be cool in the morning and get hot in the peak of the day. Dress in layers.

The Midwest

Moving on to the Midwest. This region can be broken up into two in my opinion. The whole region includes North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. This region is home to The Great Plains and is notorious for severe thunderstorms and tornados.

The northern part of the Midwest is much cooler than say Kansas in the summer. When visiting this region you can expect the same when it comes to cold temperatures as you can in the North East. This is especially true when it comes to the northern most states. The difference between summer and winter temperatures can be more than an 100 degree difference.

In the winter in the northern part of the midwest you can expect the average cold temp to be around 20F/-7C, but like the North East it can dip wayyy into the negatives at times. The hottest month of the year will be in July in the Midwest. You expect an average around 90F/32C in July. If you will be in the northernmost part of the region, you can expect on average 70in/1178mm of precipitation a year.

Packing List for the Midwest in Fall/Winter

-warm winter jacket
-gloves
-wool socks
-waterproof winter boots
-long sleeves
-sweaters
-scarf
-hat
-warm pants
-long johns
-your normal toiletries, chargers, etc.
**always dress in layers

Packing List for the Midwest in Spring/Summer

-long sleeves
-short sleeves
-tank tops
-pants
-shorts/skirts/capris
-comfortable pair of closed-toe walking shoes
-sandals
-pullover
-lightweight rain jackets
-umbrella
-sunscreen
-sunglasses
-hat/visor
-rain boots
-all your normal toiletries, chargers, etc.
**dressing in layers is most important in the spring season


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The South East

Next up is the South East. (Where I’m from! whoot whoot!) This region consists of West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas. This part of the country has relatively mild winters and hot summers. It is not abnormal for the temperature to be well over 100F/38C in the peak of summer. This is especially true in the southernmost states.

You can expect around 50 in/1270mm of precipitation per year in the South East. In most states you can expect SOME snow in the winter, but you normally won’t see any in Georgia or Florida. In the northernmost parts of this region you can expect the high temperature in the summer to be on average around 86F/30C.

Packing List for the South East in the Fall/Winter

-winter jacket, scarf, gloves, hat (northernmost states)
-waterproof winter boots (northernmost states)
-thin/medium warmth jacket (winter in the southernmost states)
-long sleeves
-short sleeves (1 in northern states, several in southern most states)
-pants
-comfortable closed toe walking shoes
-umbrella
-all your normal toiletries, chargers, etc

Packing List for the South East in the Spring/Summer

-umbrella
-lightweight rain jacket
-shorts
-lightweight sun dresses
-rain boots
-bathing suits
-sandals
-comfortable open-toe walking shoes
-sunscreen
-hat/visor
-refillable water bottle (HYDRATE especially in the southernmost states!)
-all your normal toiletries, chargers, etc.

The South West

The South West is very hot. But, it’s a surprise for many people that it can also get very cold. In fact, it snows in this region, even in the desert. This region consists of Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. If you are going to be staying in this area be prepared for drastic temperature changes from day to night. New Mexico and Arizona are particularly notorious for drastic changes in temperature. The desert temperatures can grow higher than 110F/43C in the summer and can drop down into the 60’s.

There isn’t much rainfall in this region of the USA. However when it does rain, it will be mainly concentrated to between the months July and September. On average you can expect an average of only 12 in/ 305mm of precipitation a year in the South West.

Packing List for The South West in the Fall/Winter

-long sleeves
-pants
-capris/shorts
-thin jacket
-short sleeves
-all your normals toiletries, chargers, etc.

Packing List for The South West in the Spring/Summer

-shorts
-tank tops
-long sleeve (if you are hiking in the desert for sun protection)
-hiking boots
-sandals
-comfortables open-toe walking shoes
-hat/visor
-thin airy sundress or skirt
-sunglasses
-sunscreen
-bathing suit
-refillable water bottle (HYDRATE!!)
-all your normal toiletries, chargers, etc.

The Rocky Mountain Region

The Rocky Mountain region consists of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada. In the northernmost parts of this region you can expect quite cold temperature, especially in the mountains. You will find your self needing heavy winter gear as you would in say, Minnesota. However the summers in this region can be quite pleasant and moderate in both the mountains and in some of the lower lying areas as well.

In the grasslands areas of this region you shouldn’t expect much rain. You can expect less than 15in/381 mm per year on average. While in the higher alpine areas of the region you can expect an average exceeding 50 in/1270mm a year. This is one of the most beautiful regions in the US, but if you don’t pack appropriately, it can be hard to enjoy.

Packing List for The Rocky Mountain Region in Fall/Winter

-heavy winter jacket
-winter hat
-scarf
-thick winter clothes
-scarf
-pants
-winter pants for hiking
-wool socks
-waterproof winter boots
-long sleeves
-sweaters
-long johns
-sunglasses
-all your normal toiletries, chargers, etc.

Packing List for The Rocky Mountain Region in Spring/Summer

-pants
-shorts/capris/skirts
-short sleeves
-long sleeves
-hat/visor
-sunglasses
-sunscreen
-sandals
-bathing suit
-comfortable closed-toe walking shoes
-all your normal toiletries, chargers, etc.


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The Pacific Region

The furthest west region of the contiguous United States, The Pacific Region is comprised of Washington, Oregon, and California. This is yet another region in The US that can have very different temperatures depending on where exactly you are going to visit.

In the Pacific North West, spoiler alert, it will rain. A LOT. In the northern mots parts of the coast you can expect on average a whopping 237 in /6,009 mm per year. In the summer the temperatures in the northern part of this region will be pleasant and moderate. However, it can get quite cold in the winter. In the south of The Pacific Region is Southern California.

SoCal has hot and dry summers and mild winters with low to moderate rainfall in most areas. In the summer you should prepare for southern California as if you you would any other desert. Some cities have very high average temperatures. For example, the city, El Centro has an AVERAGE high in July of 107F/42C.

Packing List for The Pacific Region in Fall/Winter

-winter jacket
-long sleeves
-umbrella
-rain boots
-waterproof winter boots
-wool socks
-lined rain jacket
-thin jacket
-long sleeves
-short sleeves
-sweaters
-hat, scarf, gloves
-all your normal toiletries, chargers, etc.

Packing List for The Pacific Region in Spring/Summer

-long sleeve (northern states) (protection from sun in desert areas of CA)
-thin jacket
-pants
-shorts
-tank tops
-shorts/capris/skirts
-airy sundresses
-sunscreen
-sunglasses
-hat/visor
-comfortable open-toe walking shoes
-comfortable closed-toe walking shoes
-sandals
-bathing suit
-refillable water bottle (HYDRATE especially in Southern California)
-all your normal toiletries, chargers, etc.

Lastly, we need to cover the two very different states outside of the continental United States; Alaska and Hawaii.

Alaska

As you may know, Alaska is located west of Canada and doesn’t actually border any other states. Despite it’s location, the state has surprisingly pleasant summers with temperatures ranging between 60F-80F /16C-27C in the summer. However, it can drop down to 40F/4C in the night.

In the winter, the average low temperature is 11F/-12C, but can get much much colder at times. Alaska gets an average of 74in/1880mm of snow a year. With the wettest months being August and September. The best time to visit Alaska is definitely in either Spring, Summer, or Fall.

Packing List for Alaska in the Fall/Winter

-heavy winter coat
-wool socks
-long johns
-winter snow pants
-snow boots
-waterproof winter boots
-pants
-long sleeves
-sweaters
-snow gloves, hat, & scarf
-all your normal toiletries, chargers, etc.

Packing List for Alaska in the Spring/Summer

-long sleeves
-short sleeves
-short/capris
-pants
-comfortables closed-toe walking shoes
-sandals
-medium warmth jacket
-warm hat
-hat/visor
-sunglasses
-sunscreen
-bathing suit
-all your normal toiletries, chargers, etc.

Hawaii

Hawaii may just have the most pleasant weather in The United States. Average highs in the winter from 26-28C and 29-31C in the summer. However, if you are headed to Hawaii for the surfing, the winter is the best time to visit. If you want to swim or snorkel while you are there, summer has the best water conditions. The country has a moderate amount of rain, with 17in/433mm falling annually.

Packing List for Hawaii Year Around

-shorts
-short sleeves
-tank tops
-bathing suits
-sandals
-comfortable open-toed walking shoes
-shorts/skirts
-airy dresses
-sunscreen
-hat/visor
-sunglasses
-all your normal toiletries. chargers, etc.
-refillable water bottle (with all the time spent in the sun, it’s easy to dehydrate!)

Are you still planning a trip to The United States? Drop any questions for me in a comment below!

Follow along with me on my travels on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest 🙂


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