How to Stand on the International Dateline with One Foot in Tomorrow!
Ready to find out how to stand on the International Date Line? It’s an imaginary line which runs from the North Pole to the South Pole, mostly through the Pacific Ocean and was originally at 180 degree longitude (the meridian), but it deviates quite a bit. It’s predominantly a straight line, except for deviations to circumnavigate countries and islands (ensuring some inhabitants aren’t a day ahead of their next door neighbours). Standing on it tickles that adventurous bucketlist area within every travellers brain- in fact the internation dateline bucketlist goal is an ultimate travel challenge.
Visit a bemused travel agent and ask this question- he will immediately begin dialling furiously, receiving a variety of brush offs from those who answer. I’d like to apologise to the tour agents of Melbourne who had to put up with me. Google comes up with very little, suggesting this isn’t a mission many have attempted or blogged about before- points for originality! So let’s see if we can crack the International Date Line bucketlist idea.
1) The Old Route. Time was, you could stand on a beautiful Pacific island amongst the palm trees and know you were on the date line- in fact it was a claim to fame. Check out this tourist taking one of millions of pics on Fiji’s Taveuni island which the line previously bisected. Due to globalisation and the mega inconvenience of swapping the date on your iPhone every time you cross the island, they’ve now shifted the line so that it doesn’t cross any land mass. Things just got 200% more challenging.
Image source- Paul Lenz @Wikimedia Creative Commons
2) Ferry Among the Islands. The International Date Line runs between American Samoa and Independent Samoa. So when taking the (8 hours or so, 50 AUD) trip on the weekly ferry between Apia and Pago-Pago you will cross it and could toss some champagne over yourself in celebration as half your body passes into the future- watch as the bemused island hoppers’jaws drop. Or you could easily fly between airports in Samoa and American Samoa which is an immensely short trip. Doing this from Victoria, Australia requires a stopover of 9 hrs in Auckland and a highly dodgy prop plane around the Samoa area. I really feel edgy about that prop plane.
3) Cruises. By far the priciest option, but depending on where your starting point may be, you could glide smoothly across the line in luxury between ports. Many liners even have a short celebration of the occasion. Plug ‘dateline crossing cruise’ into Google and you’ll be hit with a selection. Take a peek at the International Date Line map below and you’ll see it coincides with a number of gorgeous tropical islands you might like to see.
4) Chartering a Boat. You can head to Taveuni (in the Fijian Islands, north of Australia) and charter a boat to let you straddle international time differences and stand on the Date Line. This might sound harder than it is, you only need to persuade a captain to take you a short distance east and you’ll be in luck. A good place to start might be a yacht on boatbookings.com .
You can also walk to the International Date Line if you are Antarctica- the universal date line still runs through land at that point. But, in all honesty, my biased nature suggests that the warmer approach is likely to be more popular in this guide.
So do you have any better ideas for how to stand on the International Date Line? Which method would you choose? Drop a comment down below. Crossing the International Date Line in style remains one of my top travel goals to achieve in life.