Animal Crossing New Horizons: How To Time Travel

A player surrounded by weeds after time travelling in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Time Travelling is a major ability players can make use of in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. It is an implied form of cheating that can be frowned upon, but it is up to you how you choose to live your island life. Time travelling can grant both serious benefits and penalties, though. We'll explain how to time travel in New Horizons below, as well as the benefits and dangers involved.

Read More: How to Unlock All Character Customisation Options

How to Time Travel in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

To time travel in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, players simply need to adjust the time and date on their base Nintendo Switch console. The game will then read this change and update itself accordingly. As New Horizons alters its game world and events to reflect the time of year, players can prompt new seasons, events, and wildlife to show up by following the instructions below.

Time Travel Using Your Switch

  1. From the Home menu on your Nintendo Switch, select the 'System Settings' icon.
  2. Scroll down the left to the bottom of the list and select 'System'.
  3. On the right-hand side, scroll until you find 'Date and Time' and select it.
  4. If the 'Synchronize Clock via Internet' setting is enabled, disable it by pressing A.
  5. Select the time zone, date, and time you wish to have.
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Should You Time Travel in New Horizons?

A stargazing spot for Meteor Showers and Shooting Stars in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
click to enlarge

Officially, Nintendo does not approve of the time travel exploit, but at the moment there doesn't seem to be any real punishment for it (though who knows if this'll change in the future). There are changes for both good and bad, which you can read below. Make sure you know what you're getting into before time travelling!

Positives

  • Allows the player to attend their favourite events whenever they wish.
  • Allows the player to receive mail sooner.
  • Allows the player to receive interest on their savings in the bank.
  • New villagers will move in sooner.
  • Fruit will grow on trees sooner.
  • Different items are available at all stores each day.
  • Ability to catch out-of-season fish and bugs.
  • Fast-forward through renovations.
  • The player can get multiple K.K. Slider songs without having to wait for next Saturday night.
  • Ability to partake in things that would normally be unavailable at certain hours in real-time.
  • Unwanted villagers can be moved out faster.
  • Speeds up hybridizing flowers.
  • Bushes and trees will grow at a faster rate. (4~5 days)
  • Allows the player to participate on their birthday or those of the inhabitants.
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Negatives

  • There will be more weeds.
  • The player will miss out on some items for sale in the in-game shops.
  • The player's mailbox may fill up, which will not allow for any more mail until emptied or tossed.
  • The player will get bed hair if they travel forward in time more than a week.
  • Phineas may not appear for a while.
  • Turnip prices may stay low.
  • Turnips will die when a player time travels.
  • Villagers will talk about how long the player was away for.
  • Cockroaches will appear in the player's home.
  • Snowmen in town will melt. This includes travelling backwards, even if the snowman was “alive” on the player's destination day.
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If you're looking for more Animal Crossing information, we recommend checking out how to trade villagers between islands. Alternatively, go find out how to catch a shark, which is one of the rarest fish in the game!

This article was updated on 1st November 2021 by Kelsey Raynor.