Lonely Planet Writer

Time travel: the fun you can have crossing time zones

Crossing time zones is normally something to be complained about - or at the very least mitigated. After all it wreaks havoc on your body...not to mention your cell phone. And it's a complete hassle if you need to take medication at specific times.

But there are ways you can make a time zone change work for you, especially if you're heading west and backwards in time (the closest thing we have to time travel). And it's definitely less messy than crossing the equator for the first time. Here are some suggestions for working those pesky time zones to your advantage:

Extend a birthday. My 12th birthday was spent at home in New Zealand, in the air checking out the pilot's view from cockpit (hard to believe that was ever possible, let alone encouraged), and then in Disneyland. Practically perfect in every way. Use those time zones to really extend the celebration of you, thus proving your international appeal.

One-upmanship. Beat someone else to the punch - by doing something in an earlier time zone than your friend. One Lonely Planet staff member has even used this strategy to be born first. Vivek Wagle explains how: 'One of my friends was born the day before me in the same year. However, I’m actually older than he is, because he was born in the USA during the evening, and I was born in India early in the morning.'

Chase midnight - bring in the new year across the world. It's probably not a barrel of laughs being strapped into economy on New Year's Eve, but you can celebrate a whole swag of places by just staying in one place and ticking off each time zone as it hits midnight. This handy napkin will help you play New Year's Eve drinking bingo, while this site even has a countdown for every country.

Go as far as you can in one time zone. Ok, so this is the opposite - and more of a way to hold on to a time zone you really like. Forum member Johann wanted to drive as far as he could in the US without hitting a new time zone. So he wondered: is the longest drive a person can make in an westerly direction before crossing into the next time zone from Perce, Quebec, to Mabella, Ont (1673 miles, or 2-1/2 days)? The forum had some great answers.

Have you played with time zones and won? Let us know.