Smartphone helps with time zone confusion when traveling

By Chris Guld, Geeks On Tour

Traveling across time zones can be so confusing when you need to call someone, or get to an online meeting at the right time. After 14 years of RVing, you’d think I’d have it figured out. That’s where the real problems start … when I think I have it figured out! Invariably, I adjust my time in the wrong direction. I know that East Coast time is 3 hours later than West Coast: Each time zone going west is -1 hour; but then there’s Arizona that doesn’t conform to daylight savings.

This week, we traveled by plane to the Cayman Islands. Even though Grand Cayman is straight south from Miami, it is one hour earlier here. We scheduled an online event that was intended to air at 5 p.m. Miami time. I made the adjustment mentally and decided to go live at 6 p.m. Cayman time. Wrong! That made it 7 p.m. in Miami. I’m so confused!

I promise to no longer trust myself with time zone calculations. I need to know, accurately, what time it is in a certain place right now. I’ve decided to stop worrying about time zones and just let my phone tell me what time it is in the place I need to know. Let it do the heavy lifting of calculating time zones!

On iPhone

Swipe up on the home screen to reveal the control panel. (On iPhone X that’s a swipe down from the top right corner.)

Tap the clock icon, and choose World Clock.

I have added several cities representative of time zones I want to know. You can edit these by tapping on Edit at top left, or the + to add a place.

OR Just ask Siri: “What time is it in Memphis, Tennessee?” Siri is great at telling my the time right now in some other place. However, if I ask her to “Convert 5 p.m. Miami time to Grand Cayman time,” she still responds with current time in Grand Cayman. But if I use the Google Assistant on my iPhone, it will report correctly.

On Android

There is no built-in World Clock, but there are plenty of apps. I like the dual clock widget for time in two places, but I find it easiest to just ask, “OK, Google: What time is it in Memphis, Tennessee?” Or, I can ask, “Convert 5 p.m. Miami time to Grand Cayman time.”

I do know what time it is right now! My stomach tells me it’s time for lunch!

Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She and her husband, Jim, produce a free weekly online show called What Does This Button Do?  They have been Fulltime RVers, popular seminar presenters at RV Rallies, and regular contributors to RVTravel.com, for many years.

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