What You Should Know About Travel and Daylight Saving Time

On March 12, the U.S. (with the exception of Arizona and Hawaii) will spring forward and begin Daylight Saving Time. Love it or hate it, it seems like DST is here to stay, but if you’re traveling in the near future, you might wonder how this will impact you.  Let’s take a look.

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In terms of time changes, you shouldn’t feel too much of a difference if you’re traveling domestically. For instance, after we spring forward, the time difference between New York and Los Angeles will still be 3 hours.  

However, traveling from Los Angeles to Phoenix is another story.  During DST, the two cities are practically in the same time zone because Los Angeles has moved the clock ahead one hour, but Arizona has not, meaning it’s the same time in Los Angeles as it is in Phoenix.

Overall, domestic travel during this tricky time isn’t much of an issue.  Everything shifts one hour; the hard part is remembering to set your clock accordingly.

If you’re traveling internationally – especially after the U.S. begins DST, but before other countries do – this is where it can become complicated.  Say you’re flying from New York to London on March 15, leaving at 9 am.  A typical flight would have you arriving around 9:00 pm, since the time difference is usually 5 hours.  

Guess what, though?  There’s a two-week time period when this isn’t true.  Since the U.S. has moved the clock ahead one hour and the U.K. isn’t set to do so until March 26, the time difference will be just 4 hours, meaning you’d arrive at 8:00 pm instead.  That’s a nice perk to traveling in mid-March.

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Another scenario you might need to consider is traveling from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern Hemisphere during March and April.  Currently, Sydney is 16 hours ahead of New York, but that changes on Sunday when we move ahead one hour, putting the time difference at 15 hours.  This will change again when Sydney falls back on April 2 (since its currently fall there instead of spring), bringing the time difference to just 14 hours.

Ever wonder why the airlines hate Daylight Saving Time? There’s your answer.

Apart from time changes, there are other factors to consider if you’re traveling close to March 12 because springing forward can also affect your health.  And the last thing you want to have while traveling is a compromised immune system.

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On average, studies show that we lose 40 minutes of sleep when we spring forward, so make sure you budget enough time to get the sleep you need since it’s one of the most important weapons for battling irritation and illness.  You might even consider trying to gradually adjust to the time change starting now, so it’s not such a shock to your system.

Lack of sleep might also mess with your diet, something that will already be in flux if you’re on the road, so pack some familiar and healthy snacks to bring along with you and drink lots of water.  This will keep any DST-induced cravings at bay and lower your risk of the dreaded traveler’s tummy.

Most importantly, don’t forget to spring forward on Sunday, March 12.  We’d hate for you to miss a flight!

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