How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons”

Joshalynne Finch
How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons”Joshalynne Finch
Freelance Writer

Joshalynne is a freelance writer and lifelong learner who always loves studying new things. She enjoys checking out the latest grammar books and writing about video games more than anything else. Read more.

How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons”

Time travel can be a messy subject for fans familiar with the Animal Crossing series—it’s a game that is meant to be progressed and enjoyed in real time. But what if you could advance forward to speed up the process? Here’s how in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

What is Time Travel in Animal Crossing: New Horizons?

Animal Crossing: New Horizons on the Nintendo Switch plays in real time, meaning that a day in the game is as long as a day in real life. If you want to speed up your progress, you can change the time settings on your Switch console.

Rather than waiting until the next real-world day, time-traveling lets you advance progress in the game for time-related events, such as new construction, growing fruit trees, and making Bells.

However, for seasonal events such as “Bunny Day,” time travel cannot be used to activate the event. Your Nintendo Switch must be connected to Wi-Fi to sync with the internet to activate the event—so, time-skipping doesn’t work for everything.

Setting Up Time Travel

First and foremost, you’ll want to completely close Animal Crossing: New Horizons on your Nintendo Switch. You can do this by hovering over the game on the Switch’s Home screen, pressing the “X” button on your Joy-Con, and then selecting “Close”.

How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons”

Next, from the Switch’s Home screen, go to the console’s System Settings. The System Settings icon looks like a gear and is located between the Joy-con icon and the Power icon in the bottom toolbar.

How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons”

Once you’re inside the System Settings menu, scroll all the way down and select the “System” menu. Next, select the “Date and Time” option by pressing the “A” button on the right Joy-Con.

How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons”

This sub-menu is where you change all of your time settings on the Nintendo Switch.

To customize the current time, select “Synchronize Clock Via Internet” to turn “Off” the automatic clock.

How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons”

Change the date or the time to whatever you want and press “OK”.

How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons”

Navigate back to the Nintendo Switch Home screen by pressing the physical Home button on your right Switch Joy-Con and then launch the game.

When you launch Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the date and time will reflect the settings you changed in the Switch’s “Date and Time” menu.

To turn the real-time sync back on, save and close the Animal Crossing: New Horizons game client, and navigate back to the “Date and Time” menu. Select “Synchronize Clock via Internet” to set it back to the “On” position.

How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons”

Be careful about skipping too many days all at once in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Skipping forward weeks at a time will yield the same results as not playing for weeks at a time, such as losing your daily Nook Miles bonus at the Nook Stop, your villagers may move out, and weeds will move in.

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How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons” Joshalynne Finch
Joshalynne is a freelance writer and lifelong learner who always loves studying new things. She enjoys checking out the latest grammar books and writing about video games more than anything else.
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Animal Crossing New Horizons time travel is a “mechanic” that you can use in order to jump into the future and the past in the game. It’s not really a mechanic; time travel in Animal Crossing New Horizons is basically just tricking the game by messing with the date and time on your console. That said, it can be used to progress through the game in a manner that’s a little bit cheaty. So, in our How to Time Travel in Animal Crossing New Horizons guide, we’ll show you what you need to do to execute this cheat.

How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons”

How to Time Travel in Animal Crossing New Horizons

Animal Crossing New Horizons – How to Time Travel?

To time travel in Animal Crossing New Horizons, hit the Home button, then go to System Settings. Go all the way to the bottom of this menu, to System. You’ll find date and time under this option, so click on it. Now that you’re in this menu, turn off the Synchronize Clock via Internet option. Now, just change the time and date to whatever you want. However, when you go back into the game, it’ll still be set to the date and time before you messed with it. So, you’ll have to save and exit the game, then go back in. The date will now be the one you set.

Now, there are some things about time travel in Animal Crossing New Horizons that we have to note. For one, every change that you make to the island, such as picking stuff up and chopping down trees, remains permanent no matter what you do. So, you can’t use time travel to erase mistakes. Also, when you rewind time, you won’t get an announcement from Nook. If you order something from Residential Services, you have to hop forward in time for it to arrive; you can’t get that order in the past.

What’s also interesting is that, if you jump several days into the past, and then one day into the future, the game will still treat this as a new day. And, there seems to be no Mr. Resseti to berate you for messing with time. Last, but certainly not least, time jumping might end up messing with the online play, so exercise caution with that.

Animal Crossing New Horizons: How To Time Travel Switch. Animal Crossing: New Horizons on Switch is a real-time game, thus a day in the game is the same as a day in real life. You can use time travel to accelerate your advancement.

How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons”

Rather than having to wait until the next real-world day, time travel allows you to see your new home renovations or new construction right away.

To travel through time on your Switch, do the following:

  • Close Animal Crossing: New Horizons by pressing the Switch’s Home button, highlighting the game’s icon, hitting the X button, then selecting “Close” from the resulting dialogue box.
  • Navigate to your Nintendo Switch System Settings (the gear symbol on the home screen), scroll all the way down, and choose “System.”
  • Select “Date and Time,” and then deactivate the “Synchronize Clock through Internet” option.
  • You can change the date and time to whatever you like.
  • When you reopen the game, the date and time in New Horizons will match whatever you set in the Switch’s system options.

Avoid skipping too many days at once, as doing so will result in the same repercussions as not playing for weeks at a time: your villagers will go, and weeds will grow.

Remember that you will need to connect to the internet to confirm the date before participating in holiday-related activity.

Animal Crossing New Horizons: How To Time Travel Switch

How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons”

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is not a game that you are meant to speed through. Nintendo clearly wanted players to take their sweet time, to take every new day as it comes naturally and to savour every relaxing moment.

New Horizons is also a game that takes Blathers three real world days to properly move in. We’re not saying that that’s the worst design decision in the game (single crafting is), but it’s practically asking players to partake in time travel.

Ever since Animal Crossing’s earliest days, players have been using what is commonly referred to as “time travel” to jump ahead in the franchise’s structure of real-time change without the need to wait.

Time travel is back in New Horizons, and while the debate will forever rage on about if you should or shouldn’t do it, it’s ultimately up to you how you play the game you paid money for. With no competitive play (unless you count a net deathmatch), don’t be too concerned about the ethics of time travel in Animal Crossing.

To start time travelling in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you will first need to be on your Switch’s home screen. From there, browse the bottom row until you get to system settings.

How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons”

Once that’s selected, scroll down until you reach system, and then select date and time.

How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons”

Turn off the synchronise clock via Internet option.

How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons”

With that done, you can now manually enter the date and time you want your Animal Crossing: New Horizons island to be. Most players jump ahead by a few hours or just to the next morning when they know construction on something will be done, but plenty of people have fast forwarded even months in advance to find out what’s coming up in the game.

Simply close your game if it’s open and then start it up again and your New Horizons island will be running on the new, unofficial time.

There are a few pros and cons to time travelling in New Horizons. Pros include not having to wait, which can be very handy if you have limited time to play during the day. The cons, though, are absolutely worth bearing in mind.

The most prominent con is that any turnips you own will almost certainly perish, meaning that you could potentially waste a lot of Bells.

The second issue is that you may then find yourself getting stuck totally out of sync with your shop not updating as you’ve technically already been there that day, meaning that the temptation to keep time travelling just keeps rolling on and on.

The third con is that you may find yourself getting burned out on the game quickly as it is designed to be played at a leisurely pace. Time travelling ahead and seeing everything there is to see might leave you feeling a little bored.

Despite all that, though, remember that the game is yours to experience whichever way you please.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which is out now exclusively for the Nintendo Switch, is a great way to not have to go outdoors at all. From our review:

“New Horizons is a great continuation of an already fantastic series of games, and paying back Tom Nook’s loan has never been so fun.”

Some of the coverage you find on Cultured Vultures contains affiliate links, which provide us with small commissions based on purchases made from visiting our site. We cover gaming news, movie reviews, wrestling and much more.

How do you time travel in Animal Crossing: New Horizons?

Time travelling in Animal Crossing: New Horizons is fairly simple. Because the game operates on a real world clock, all you’ll need to do is change the time on your Nintendo Switch console.

Here’s how to do it:

  • On the home screen, navigate to settings
  • Select ‘System’ from the dropdown menu
  • Select ‘Date and Time’ and choose the date you want to travel to

When you open Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you’ll wake up on your selected date.

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What are the risks and rewards of time travel in Animal Crossing?

Time travelling in Animal Crossing lets you skip through the painful wait times of construction works and gain new features like terraforming faster. You’ll be able to breeze through the first few days of Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ lengthy grind and get to work building your dream town.

You can even take advantage of the game’s banking system to gain millions of bells in interest — to do this, simply travel back in time (40+ years), deposit an amount in the bank and travel forward a few decades to claim your built up interest.

Tips For Playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is out today. I’ve spent a lot of time with this massive game over…

But for all its benefits, time travelling in New Horizons carries great risk particularly, when it comes to calendar events like Bunny Day, which runs from April 1-12.

To participate in the Easter-themed Bunny Day, your Nintendo Switch console will connect to the internet and verify your console’s date. If the dates don’t match up, you won’t be able to participate — but changing them back should be no issue if you’ve time travelled and still want to take part.

While you can easily travel back to the correct date with no consequences , note that your town will likely develop weed problems, any food left out will rot, cockroaches will invade your home and villagers will feel abandoned if you travel forward too far.

For the time poor, Animal Crossing’s time travel function can be a godsend, but it also takes a lot of the fun and relaxation out of the game.

Tired of waiting out the natural passage of time? Want your infrastructure to get there quicker? Here's how to time travel in Animal Crossing New Horizons.

Published April 6, 2020, 8:43 p.m. about Animal Crossing: New Horizons

There’s a whole bunch of stuff to do in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and honestly, so little time. It’s hard to really make the most of it as a power player if you’re wanting to just go through it all in real time, so we totally understand if you want to learn how to time travel in Animal Crossing New Horizons. We’ll show you how.

How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons”

There’s been a whole heated debate on the internet about time traveling in Animal Crossing games but we’re resolutely not going to get into that. Yes, you can debate that in Tom Nook’s marketplace of ideas whenever you want, but this is not the forum for you to do so. We’re just here to show you how to do it responsibly if you choose to. Kinda like drinking. We’re supervising you.

So, you want to know how to time travel in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. One very important thing to note: if you have turnips on you, do NOT time travel back in time because this will rot them and you’ll lose your precious investment. If you do travel forward, be mindful that you still only have 7 in-game days before they go rotten so please use this power responsibly. Follow the steps below to time travel in Animal Crossing New Horizons:

  • First, you’re going to want to ensure that you’ve saved and quit out of Animal Crossing
  • Close all other software that you might be using
  • Go to System Settings
  • Go to System
  • Scroll down to Date and Time
  • Turn “Synchronize Clock via Internet” off
  • Set the date and time of your choice
  • Press B
  • Restart your console and launch the game

Now that you have our guide on how to time travel in Animal Crossing New Horizons, it should be a bit easier for you to skip past all the things in the game that you’re not a fan of. If you recall the reception to Bunny Day and how Nintendo’s been forced to nerf egg drop rates, we definitely wouldn’t blame you for wanting to skip the festivities altogether. If you don’t yet own a copy of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, then you can pick one up from this Amazon link and support Prima Games at the same time. Talk about convenient! Once you’ve gotten used to the island life, come check out our dedicated guides hub for a bunch of tips and tricks that we’ve prepared for Island Representatives like you:

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How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons”

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Read this Animal Crossing: New Horizons Switch (ACNH) guide on time travel guide. Learn how to change time forward and backwards, time travel penalties and more!!

Table of Contents

Time Travel Guide

*In order to fully enjoy the real time gaming experience, we highly recommend you NOT to change the time with this method.

Change Time From System Settings

How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons”

▲Change time from the Switch settings page

▲System Settings can be found here.

In order to change the time in Animal Crossing New Horizon, you need to change the devise time from Nintendo Switch’s system setting. Follow the steps below to change your time.

1 Save your Animal Crossing data by pressing “-” button
2 Press the “Home” button and fully shut down Animal Crossing by pressing the “Y” button
3 Choose System Settings from the lower right corner of the Switch’s home screen.
4 Choose “System” from the bottom of the menu. Choose “Date and Time”
5 Turn off “Synchronize Clock via Internet”
6 Change the time from “Date and Time”

Good Things – Change Time Forward & Back

You Can Change The Season

How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons”

By skipping time, you can instantly experience different seasons. This will also allow you to catch Bug and Fish that only appear in certain seasons!

Rocks & Materials Respawn

How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons”

The materials you can get by striking rocks with a shovel are limited. By changing the date, you can gather materials much more quickly!

Do Flower Breeding Faster

How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons”

Want to make your island colorful? Floor breeding usually takes time but you can make it faster with time travel.

Get Interest From Bank

How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons”

As you forward the time, you will get interest based on the amount of savings balance in ABD. At the start of the day, you will be notified by the bank about it by a mail

Penalties – Change Time Forward & Back

No Major Penalties

There are no major penalties when it come to progression of your game. Villagers may move out from island if you progress the time too much.

Cannot Continue Daily Miles Bonus

How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons”

Accessing ABD increases the bonus miles (max 300 per day), and time travel will reset the bonus mile gotten from ABD. You will need to start from day 1 bonus (50).

Lost Items Can’t Be Returned

How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons”

If you time travel while a lost item is in your bag, you won’t be able to return it to anyone. It will be an unknown item in your inventory so be sure to return it first before moving time forward.

Warning: Turnips Will Spoil!

Unfortunately, Turnips in your inventory will all spoil if you change the time on your Switch ! This will cause you to lose a lot of money on Turnips, so be careful!

Cockroaches At Your Home

Cockroaches will come to you and it affects home evaluation of Happy Home Academy.

Weeds Grow On Island

As you skip the time weeds on island grow everywhere, which may affect your island evaulation of Isabelle.

Should You Do Time Travel?

Not Recommended Basically

The game is designed for you to take your time to enjoy day by day. So, to enjoy the core essence of the game, time travel is not basically recommended.

Good Way If You Want To Progress The Game Faster

If you are busy and progress the game faster, time travel might be a good way. However, you may shorten life length of the game by travel you may shorten life length of the game by travel.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the game we all needed this year. It throws you into a world of full of personality and practically lets you do anything you want — while sticking to a chill tone, making it easy for nearly everyone to enjoy. One of its quirks is that it follows a real-time in-game clock, meaning you have to wait awhile — sometimes days — for things to go into effect. It mirrors your local time, so if it’s 10 a.m. where you live, it’ll be 10 a.m. in the game. But some players like to reap the game’s rewards instantly and opt to skip the waiting.

How? By time traveling, which consists of changing your system’s internal clock to manipulate it in-game. It’s somewhat of a controversial practice, with some thinking it takes the fun out of the game, while others use it each play session. We’re not here to debate the ethics of time travel in New Horizons, though. In this guide, we’ll show you how to time travel, why it could benefit you, and some tips to make it go more smoothly.

Further reading:

Why should you time travel?

How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons”

In New Horizons, it’s not necessary to time travel. Most players get through the game the way it was intended — by waiting in real time for changes to take place. But some argue it’s much more gratifying to get things right away. Or maybe your work schedule only allows you to play at night, after the game’s stores are closed. With time travel, these worries are gone in a flash, letting you take control of the game’s clock.

You can use time travel for almost anything. Perhaps you’re waiting for a villager to request to leave your island. You can speed this process up by skipping to a new day, as you check into the game to see if the villager is ready to leave. Time traveling can also allow you to change the date to a Sunday, which is when Daisy Mae sells turnips — giving you a way to get rich quickly by taking advantage of the game’s stalk market.

Other players simply use it to skip from day to day to quickly boost their furniture and clothing selection, since stores often have new items each day. There are also certain fish that only spawn during specific times of year, like the Pond Smelt, which is only available between December and February. Time travel will also speed up the growth of flowers and trees.

There are numerous reasons to time travel, but the main idea is that it speeds up nearly every process in-game. The nice thing is that you can always change it back to current time, if need be. You’ll have to do this in order to take part in seasonal events, since these require you to be connected to the internet.

There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to deciding whether you should time travel. There is something to be said about the excitement of checking in each day to see what new changes have taken place within New Horizons, but ultimately, you should play how you want. Do keep in mind, there are some downsides to time traveling, like breaking your Nook Miles bonus streak at the Nook Stop, and your island will quickly start becoming overrun with weeds (though, you can sell them for a small profit). One of the biggest downsides is that your turnips can rot if you go backward in time, rendering them useless when attempting to sell. At the end of the day, though, whether or not you time travel is up to you, and either option is fine — so long as you’re having fun with the game.

How to time travel

So you’ve decided you want to time travel. Great! Below, we’ll go through all the steps you’ll need to change the system’s clock, which manipulates the time in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Unlike previous entries, there is no way to change the time in-game — instead, you can only alter it from within the system settings.

Step 1 — Go into settings

How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons”

Close out of your game and make sure you have a sense of how long you’d like to skip ahead. Whether it’s a day, three days, or a week, keep the time frame in mind. From the system’s main screen, scroll over or tap on the gear icon on the bottom right (to the left of the power icon), to enter the settings menu.

Step 2 — Open the system settings menu

How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons”

From here, scroll all the way down to System, which has a list of options you can change, like the language, region, and time.

Step 3 — Click on Date and Time

How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons”

Since we’re time traveling, you’ll want to click on Date and Time to alter the system’s clock. Before you can start messing with the time, you have to turn off the ability to synchronize the clock via the internet. If this setting is on, the system will always check the internet to verify the time, thus making you unable to change it manually. Turn this setting off.

Step 4 — Change the time

How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons”

At this point, you can change the date and time to whatever you please. Just make sure you hit OK when you’re finished to save the settings. What’s really cool about this is that you can even head backward in time!

Step 5 — Jump back into the game

How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons”

Now you can jump back into the game and it will mirror the time settings of the system’s internal clock. You can still play online with others, even if your system doesn’t sync with the internet to verify the time. When you’re ready to change the time back, or ahead to a later date, simply repeat the steps from above to alter the system’s clock.

In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you can take flights to new islands. They are chosen randomly, and are useful to get more inhabitants for your own island, collect new types of food and catch new creatures. However travelling does come at a cost.

Before you can charter a flight, you’ll need to have paid back the 5,000 miles to Tom Nook. There’s really no point in avoiding paying, as there’s no other way to progress through the game. So pay it back as soon as you have 5,000. You’ll even get your first plane ticket for free.

This guide was created during the first week of Animal Crossing: New Horizons release on the Nintendo Switch. Depending on when you’re reading this guide, some thing may be different due to future updates. However we’ll always try to come back and update these guides! For more of our Animal Crossing: New Horizons Guides & Best-of lists, make sure to check out our dedicated area here!

Travelling to Different Islands

As previously mentioned, you’ll need to of handed in your moving-in fees, which costs 5,000 Nook Miles. Once you’ve done that, you’ll have access to the ‘Redeem Nook Miles’ on the machine shown below. If you haven’t flown anywhere yet, then you should have a ticket waiting for you in the airport which you can use for free just once.

How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons” Choose ‘Redeem Nook Miles’

You can buy a ‘Nook Miles Ticket’ for 2,000 Nook Miles. If you don’t have enough, you’ll have to complete some more challenges, which you can look at on your phone by pressing ZL.

How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons” Buy a Nook Miles Ticket

Once you’ve bought the ticket, it will be printed out and placed in your inventory. Head to the airport on your Island and speak to Orville, the Dodo Bird. Choose the ‘I wanna fly!’ option, and you’ll be taken to a different island at the expense of your ticket.

How to time travel in “animal crossing new horizons” Head to the airport

There are a few things you should do before flying though. Make sure to have inventory space to bring items back with you. Also ensure that you take at least some tools so that you can chop down trees, dig up fossils and catch fish. Once you return, you’ll have to pay another 2000 Nook Miles to fly again.