Fall-Back Plan; or, Did You Remember to Change Your Clocks?

October 29, 2007

in Information, Travel, Web Tips

We over on the right side of the Atlantic ended daylight savings time (DST) on Sunday, meaning that the time difference between London and New York is currently only 4 hours, between London and Los Angeles 7 hours. The party ends Sunday, when American clocks fall back and the differences increase an hour to standard difference.

Who cares, you ask? My mother and I spent spring break 2000 in bonny Ireland. We went down one Sunday morning to breakfast and were greeted by surly staff. Minutes into our meal, we were told our taxi was already waiting. But it was only 9:15 a.m., we’d ordered it for 10. Aha, DST strikes again. We were an hour late to breakfast AND were making the driver wait. There were no signs in the hotel, no mention of it on the news or radio. I don’t know how we were supposed to know Europe moved to DST a week earlier than America did. That was a lapse with minor consequences, but since then I pay attention to such things.

Wouldn’t you hate to miss your flight because of DST? And don’t even get me started on Russian trains the night DST changes (many connections between Moscow and St. Petersburg leave after midnight — so does your train leave at the first 1 a.m., or the second 1 a.m.? Will trains arrive an hour earlier or will they sit on the tracks for an hour waiting? etc. etc.). Actually, trains or planes anywhere . . . it’s good to know the date so you can avoid traveling on it — or at least clarify departure times loooooooooooong in advance.

So Europeans headed to North America, take note: time will change again for you next week. Plan accordingly.

And if you regularly plan your trips abroad during shoulder season to save money, remember to check about the start/end of DST at your destination. You can always check the time difference between two locations at Time and Date, where they have two quite detailed articles about DST around the world: North America, everybody else.

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