What if I wanted to visit all seven continents in one day?

Google Earth Image Gallery

map of the world
2009 HowStuffWorks
If you pay attention to the time zones, you can use them to your advantage during your trip. See pictures of Google Earth.

First, you must think about a few thingsĀ­. Where are you going? Where will you start your trip? Does "in one day" simply mean a 24-hour time period? Or do we use a broader sense -- and pay attention to the date, not the actual passage of time? And, last but not least, what mode of transportation should you use?

Your travel itinerary would include visits to each of the following continents:

  • Africa
  • Antarctica
  • Asia
  • Australia
  • Europe
  • North America
  • South America

You'd be covering an incredible distance on your journey. At first look, this seems impossible. But there are two ways you can manage a trip like this. Use an extremely fast mode of transportation, like the Concorde (if it were still in operation) or work with the interpretation of "in just one day." We'll take a look at the Concorde in just a minute, but first let's talk about an interesting loophole.

Up Next

Everyone on the planet wants the sun to be at its highest point in the sky (crossing the meridian) at noon. If there were just one set time for the entire world, this would be impossible because the Earth rotates 15 degrees every hour. Therefore, the world is set up in time zones. The idea behind multiple time zones is to divide the world into 24 15-degree slices and set the clocks accordingly in each zone. All of the people in a given zone set their clocks the same way, and each zone is one hour different from the next. If you pay attention to the time zones, you can use them to your benefit when planning your trip. It will help you accomplish your task if you interpret "in just one day" to mean the date of your trip, not a 24-hour time period. Using the time zones, you can start somewhere in the east and move west. As you travel, you will actually be gaining additional hours for your journey because of the time change.