Travel Tips and Ideas

The History of Daylight Saving Time Around the World

by Haley Dobrowski | Mar 10, 2023
daylight saving time

It is almost that time of year for us to have more daylight in the late evenings when our clocks “spring forward” one hour. Although we lose an hour of sleep, it marks the end of winter and the start of spring and maybe even summer for some. Daylight Saving Time is the practice of setting our clocks forward by one hour during the summer months to increase the amount of daylight in the evening.  Although some believe that the practice was first adopted for farmers to have more hours of sunlight for working in the field, others believe Benjamin Franklin may have been the first to come up with the idea. The concept of Daylight Saving Time has been around for centuries, with various countries implementing it at different times and for different reasons. Let’s dig a little deeper into the origins of Daylight Saving Time and how countries around the world practice it.


The first recorded instance of Daylight Saving Time was in ancient civilizations such as the Roman Empire and the Ancient Egyptians, who used water clocks to adjust the daily schedules during summer months. However, the modern concept of Daylight Saving Time can be traced back to the late 18th century, when Benjamin Franklin proposed the idea in a satirical essay suggesting changes to sleep schedules to save money on candles and lamp oil.

However, the first official adoption of Daylight Saving Time dates way back to World War I. In 1916, Germany adopted the concept as a way to conserve fuel by making daylight last longer. It quickly caught on and other countries in Europe and North America followed suit during the war. The United States officially adopted Daylight Saving Time in 1918, but it was not uniformly observed until the Uniform Time Act of 1966.


Today, Daylight Saving Time is observed in over 70 countries around the world, although the dates and durations vary. Most countries in Europe start observing Daylight Saving Time on the last Sunday in March and end on the last Sunday in October. In the United States, Daylight Saving Time begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November. Most of Arizona, Hawaii, and U.S. territories including Puerto Rico permanently observe standard time since they get a lot of daylight year-round.

Other countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, are the opposite due to their location. Many travelers may not realize that while the Northern hemisphere springs forward, the Southern hemisphere falls back in the beginning of the year. These countries actually begin Daylight Saving Time on the first Sunday in October and end it on the first Sunday in April. It can also be important to note that some European countries, such as Iceland, Belarus and Russia, do not observe Daylight Saving Time and instead keep the same time year-round. When traveling across time zones, it can be a good idea to check with your destination to confirm the exact date and times in your region.

Spring Forward

The use of Daylight Saving Time has been controversial over the years, with some arguing that it disrupts sleep patterns and causes unnecessary confusion. There have also been concerns about its impact on energy consumption and as a result, some countries have abolished Daylight Saving Time or reduced its use. Daylight Saving Time has a long and varied history around the world, with different countries implementing it for different reasons and at different times. While it remains a controversial practice, it is still widely observed in many parts of the world today. If you plan to travel during Daylight Saving time, it can be a good idea to know when to set your clocks forward or do nothing at all depending on your location. No matter where you travel, consider protecting yourself from the unexpected. Talk to your travel advisor or visit our website to learn more!




This blog links to websites for the following companies, which are not affiliated with Travel Insured International or United States Fire Insurance Company: The Franklin Institute, University of Colorado Boulder, Newsweek, Old Farmer’s Almanac, Australian Government.




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