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Time Zone and Daylight Saving Tips for Pro Travelers

By March 1, 2017September 16th, 2020Best Practices, Blog
Time Zone Map

The Excitement of the ‘Clock’ App on Your Phone

I currently live in 2 time zones, and I travel through 2 extra time zones. It’s a pain. As the airline miles begin stacking up in double-digit hours each week, exciting new ways to kill time on a plane are harder and harder to find. This week I turned to the ‘Clock’ app on my android phone—this is what I found out.

Nobody Knows What Time It’s Going to be Tomorrow

Daylight Saving Time (DST) was a while back. You know, that thing you promise yourself you’ll add to your calendar and you never do. I’m not a farmer, but if I were, I wouldn’t necessarily insist on the remainder of the population living on the schedule fit for my crops. Farming is the reason we have DST right? I’d check, but I’m on a plane right now.

The unfortunate reality is we all rely on the admin assistant at the office to remind us when it’s time to switch. The only thing more annoying about trying to figure out when DST takes place is figuring out if the place you’re traveling to even observes it and what date it actually takes place there.

What if the Time Zone in Your Country Changes?

One of the locations I frequent is Panama. Panama does NOT observe DST, which makes it literally impossible to calendar correctly without a lot of research upfront. Let me elaborate.

How Apps, Phones, and Your Watch Handle DST

Outlook 2016

Here comes another paper cut. You know how you can add a second time zone to your Outlook? Well, this is great, but with my Panama example, this does not work. Since you’re adding a ‘time zone’ not a ‘location’ to your Outlook, you will have to change that second time zone twice a year.

Android Clock

Easy. You don’t set time zones. You set ‘cities’ so everything magically takes care of itself using standardized time-tables. These tables are also used when designing watches with time zone support.

Your phone handles this very well: the moment you exit the plane, your sim card picks up the time from a local cell tower and your calendar events are magically moved to the proper spot. Cool.

Your Watch

Samsung Gear (1) – This is my go-to watch for travel. It supports 2 time zones in default configuration, and with GPS and sim card functionality, you are prompted the moment it connects to a cell tower. Nifty!

Not so fast….

  • Tizen OS – the alarm app has no concept of time zones. So you have to remember to change those.
  • Casio (plastic workout watch) – I can’t remember which model I was using—but it doesn’t matter—because while it does keep track of timezones, you must turn on and off DST manually. Then, remember to move your alarms as well.
  • Seiko Astro Series – used to be on my Amazon wishlist, solar-powered GPS, elegant stainless steel watch. #1 feature plastered all over the airport near you is the ability to set time with a press of a button using GPS.

This is great.

I called Seiko and asked them a question, “What about DST?”

They answered, “You have to turn it on and off manually.”


This $1000, beautiful solar-powered li-ion perpetual wristwatch literally connects to an atomic clock via a satellite above the planet, but cannot reconcile DST properly.

The Crazy

Let’s talk airports again.

The 3rd largest airport hub in Europe is the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul. Yup, that’s in Turkey. The terminal, lounges, food, and service are second to none. I think it’s a better-run airport than JFK.

Anyway. Do you recall the above-mentioned ‘fixed DST timetables’ that are hard-coded in every wristwatch with time zone support? Well… a few months back, the Turkish government decided they don’t care about those and CHANGED when DST kicked in.

This was done in order to increase the voter turnout in an election.

Stop the Madness

There is no reason we have to continue like this, in this DST-induced haze.

Someone ought to this ridiculous situation.

Good luck convincing the entire world to jump in.

JacobR, PEI

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