Challenges that the time zone system imposes on your long-distance travels


When you’re a child, traveling to a different time zone is a real adventure. However, as you grow older and travel more often, constantly hopping across time zones can be a challenging experience, especially your personal well-being and health. Ever since Jules Verne’s “Around the World in 80 Days”, travelers and adventurers feel attracted by the mystery of the Earth’s time zones and there has been a number of real life imitations of this famous excursion across the International Date Line. While a trip around the world in 80 days in times of modern aviation does not represent the enormous challenge that it used to, travels across other time zones do generate problems in other respects.

What time is it, actually?

Keeping track of the right time on long-distance flights can be confusing. While being on the plane, the actual time might not really matter, but once you step off the plane, it’s vital to know what time it is so you can adjust to your new environment. Luxury watches like the Transocean collection by manufacturer Breitling, available via Chrono24, offer world time functions which show the time in all 24 time zones simultaneously. This type of watches is perfect for frequent travelers who don’t want to calculate and recalculate the hour of their international phone calls.

Consider that some of the world’s largest countries such as China and India use one single time zone in all of their continental territory, even if it significantly exceeds the interval of 15° of longitude that usually marks the beginning of a new time zone. Other big countries like the USA and Australia, however, divide into several time zones.

Jetlag is waiting for you

The most commonly known effect of traveling across time zones is surely the phenomenon of jetlag. Whereas there are various ways of keeping jetlag under control, no single traveler can fully avoid jetlag disrupting their body clock to some extent. Flights heading eastward are generally said to be harder to cope with than westbound journeys.

Different time zone – different climate

One thing which travelers on their first long-distance flight often forget about: When landing on a different continent, it is not only the time which changes but also the climate. Before starting your travel you should check on your destination’s air humidity and average temperatures to have an idea of how hard adaptation to the local climate will be.

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1979), beginning as a travel agent up through today as a publisher of eTurboNews (eTN), one of the world’s most influential and most-read travel and tourism publications. He is also Chairman of ICTP. His experiences include working and collaborating with various national tourism offices and non-governmental organizations, as well as private and non-profit organizations, and in planning, implementing, and quality control of a range of travel and tourism-related activities and programs, including tourism policies and legislation. His major strengths include a vast knowledge of travel and tourism from the point of view of a successful private enterprise owner, superb networking skills, strong leadership, excellent communication skills, strong team player, attention to detail, dutiful respect for compliance in all regulated environments, and advisory skills in both political and non-political arenas with respect to tourism programs, policies, and legislation. He has a thorough knowledge of current industry practices and trends and is a computer and Internet junkie.