Time Traveling in 'Animal Crossing' Has Its Benefits — and Its Shortcomings

Time traveling is a great way to redesign your island quickly in 'Animal Crossing: New Horizons.' Here's how to do it and what you should know.

Sara Belcher - Author

Sep. 16 2021, Published 7:47 p.m. ET

Since it was released in March 2020, Nintendo Switch players have dumped hundreds of hours into their Animal Crossing: New Horizons islands, redesigning them and creating custom content for their favorite villagers. The game offered a reprieve for many during the COVID-19 lockdown and was easily one of the defining video games of 2020.

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But one of the downsides of this highly addictive game is that it runs in real time, making it hard to rush through the game and complete many tasks or challenges quickly. If this is how you like to play video games, grinding them out as quickly as possible, then you might find Animal Crossing frustrating.

That being said, there are ways to time travel in the game to bypass this feature. If you're impatient (like us), here's how to do it.

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Why would you want to time travel in 'Animal Crossing'?

For hardcore Animal Crossing fans, you'll know time traveling is sometimes the only way to quickly and effectively do an entire redesign of your island. There are a limited number of tasks you can complete in one day, severely restricting the redesign process. You can only build one bridge or ramp and move one house or building a day, and you'll have to wait for the following day for the task to be completed. This means to move all eight villagers on your island, it'll take you eight days.

There are also a limited number of certain resources, like fruits and fossils, that will spawn on your island every day. You can only dig up five fossils once a day, and once you shake the fruit off your trees, it'll take three days to regrow.

The rocks on your island can also only be mined once a day. While you can travel to other islands using Nook Miles tickets for these resources, it's much easier when you can collect all of these things from your island.

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This is part of what makes time traveling so appealing. By bypassing the built-in wait time, you can complete redesigns on your island much faster, or complete collections quickly. There are also certain bugs and fish that can only be found at certain times of the day, so time traveling offers you an opportunity to visit the times you're not usually able to play.

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How to time travel in 'Animal Crossing: New Horizons':

Time traveling is actually really simple and has minimal consequences in-game. To change the time in-game, all you have to do is change the time on your Switch.

Go to the home menu of your Nintendo Switch and select the settings button, then navigate to "date and time." Disable "Synchronize Clock via Internet" and then manually enter the date and time you want to travel to.

Once you've done that, just reopen the game and you'll be in that new time! It's important to note, though, that if you plan to buy or sell turnips then you will not be able to time travel, otherwise they will rot and be unsellable. You also will be unable to travel forward to future big events, so don't use this to access a major holiday early or you'll be unsuccessful.

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