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Wikitravel talk:Time and date formats

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Draft and discussion[edit]

<begin draft for discussion>


Use the format of 10:30AM-5PM.

Use noon and midnight, not 12AM or 12PM.


  • Decimals not used when not required, eg not 5:00PM.
  • Where decimals are required, colon used as the separator, eg not 5.30PM or 5-30PM.
  • Ante meridiem and post meridiem abbreviated and capitalised as AM and PM.
  • Spaces and periods (fullstops) left out, eg not 10:30 A.M. – 5 P.M.
  • 12-hour format rather than 24-hour format, eg 5PM, not 1700, however, some countries do use the 24-hour format and 17:00 would be standard usage.
  • When 24-hour format is the preferred standard, the colon is currently universally used, eg 17:00, but a more efficient system would be to simply omit the unnecessary colon, eg 1700.


Abbreviate to the minimum number of letters, ie M Tu W Th F Sa Su.


  • Spell out when it is part of a named day, eg Good Friday, Fat Tuesday.
  • If it looks odd or ambiguous in a particular context, spell it out.
We should use 2 Letters for each day, ie. Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su. This is more consistent and readable, and, in my opinion also more intuitive. (M 10am-3pm vs Mo 10am-3pm) - Nils Jan 8th, 2004

If using 1 Letter for each day, ie. M T W R F S N. This removes any confusion between Tuesday & Thursday (TR vs TT), and Saturday & Sunday (SN vs SS).


Abbreviate to three letters, ie Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec.


Use the format of 10 Jan 2003 (as dates appear when you add a name and time signature using 4 tildes).

  • Never use dates of the form 10/1/03. This example would mean 10 Jan 2003 or 1 Oct 2003 to different people.

<end main draft>

Points for possible discussion

  • Abbrevn for ante meridiem and post meridiem. I prefer am and pm to AM and PM - the full words aren't capitalised.
    • I prefer lowercase too. -phma 19:27, 26 Dec 2003 (PST)
  • Abbrevs for months.
  • Date format.

Holidays occurring on a fixed date

I expect that most people, including those not from a Christian tradition, know that Christmas Day is 25 Dec. But not everyone will know the date of Boxing Day or ANZAC Day. Possible solutions:

  1. Give the date not the name, eg "Closed 25 Apr".
  2. Give the name and the date, eg something like "Closed ANZAC Day (25 Apr)".
  3. List holidays in the article for the appropriate level (eg national holidays in the country article, local holidays in the article for the state, county or whatever) and then use the name, eg "Closed ANZAC Day".

I think I prefer solution 3.

For holidays not occurring on a fixed date I don’t think there is any alternative to, for example, "Closed Good Friday". Nurg 18:42, 26 Dec 2003 (PST)

What about Thanksgiving? Canada and USA both celebrate it but on different dates. Countries using the Julian calendar for religious purposes may celebrate Good Friday on a different date than those using the Gregorian. As to Fat Tuesday, even many Anglophones would know that better by its French translation, and I have to translate it to recognize it; and I wouldn't know how to find it on a calendar. -phma 19:27, 26 Dec 2003 (PST)

I'd say solution 2 above is the obvious one to use as the default solution, because it is easiest to read. Solution three makes the traveller do more work in order to save editing effort or storage space, so I think it is wrong in most cases. The exception would be where it is a very common holiday; you don't need to give the date of ANZAC day in every Australia article. This then becomes a question of jdgement for the writer, but I'd say if in doubt, use pattern #2 above. Pashley 21:17, 9 May 2006 (EDT)

My comments[edit]

I'm glad this page has been started and I'm interested in seeing where it goes.

I don't have a big problem with going to am and pm versus AM and PM. My main concern is whether we should get in the habit of changing our preferred style on anything because the new style is marginally better than the old style.

Preferring one thing to another is fine, but by making something our standard, it means we're requiring ourselves to change any current content in that format. So, the advantages of any change should probably justify the work involved to change it.

I added a note on time zones. It should probably be obvious that times should be in the local time zone, but I made it explicit just in case. There are some cases where it might not be: The train leaves Paris each night at 9PM and arrives the next day in Lisbon at 4PM. Which time zone are the times in? I think most train and plane tickets use the local time on arrival and departure, but.

Also, it might be worthwhile to point out time range format. Like, "9-11am", "10am-4pm", "noon-midnight", "24 hours", whatever. --Evan 19:58, 26 Dec 2003 (PST)

I would specify both time zones if they are different: "The train leaves Paris each night at 9pm MET and arrives the next day in Lisbon at 4pm WET."
As an absolute time, midnight belongs to the following day, but some places, such as bars and pizzerias, open in the afternoon and close after the following midnight. So 5pm-3am Friday ends on Saturday. -phma 21:08, 26 Dec 2003 (PST)

Just curious[edit]

I'm not particularly opinionated about this, but why do we have to write "AM" and "PM" (or possibly "am" and "pm" if it gets changed) instead of "a.m." and "p.m.", which are the only accepted abbreviations in 3 dictionaries I consulted (Oxford Reference, Australian Concise Oxford and Collins Cobuild)? DhDh 13:29, 28 Dec 2003 (PST)

"am" vs. "a.m." vs. "AM" vs. "A.M." isn't particularly important. We went with "AM" to start off, and now there's some moves to use "am" instead. We can go through all 4 possibilities, as well as exploring some less obvious ones, like "ant. merid." or "M.A." or whatever.
We have suggestions as to why "am" would have been a better choice 6 months ago than "AM", and why "a.m." would have been better than both of them. What I haven't seen is a good reason why we should change from "AM" to either one of these right now. --Evan 08:21, 29 Dec 2003 (PST)
Use something that is easy on the eyes. AM is. am is sort of. a.m. isn't. Remember, we use these in short, crowded paragraphs about attractions etc. A point could be made to go with 24h format, since it is much easier esp. with noon/midnight. But since that would be opening up a whole string of arguments I'll ceede to the anglophiles on the point. Just don't make me use imperial units. Nils Jan 8th, 2004
Hey, thats not an anglophile issue; us Brits may be hopelessly backward on imperial units, but on the subject of 12/24h clocks we swing with the rest of Europe :-). Seriously I think most people who have enough english for wikitravel to be useful can in general handle either clock format. What I certainly cannot handle is 12am or 12pm; I have no idea what those mean and in general usage I will always use 'noon' and 'midnight' (or 00:00 and 12:00). I don't really care whether wikitravel stays 12h or goes 24h but I suggest we mandate 'noon' and 'midnight' if we stay 12h. --chris_j_wood May 14th, 2004
I think 24h time would solve this notation ( AM Vs am ) problem, along with noon and midnight. Looks like our signatures already use it so it would also add consistency. --Caffeine 16:30, 15 Mar 2004 (EST)
Another vote for 24h time format, with colon separator.
Should there be a link to this from Wikitravel:Manual of style#Formatting style?
The problem with 24 hour time is that a lot of people (i.e. travelers) find them confusing. Although I work in an organisation that uses a 24 hour clock, I note that many people are unable to convert between the two systems easily and are totally confused when confronted with a 24 hour time. While the people who are familiar with 24 hour time recognise the system, those who are not, won't. Using AM and PM is unambiguous. You just know it is 12 hour time. And so does everyone else. While I, personally, would happily accept 24 hour time, for clarity, I will instead plug for 12 hour time with AM and PM, NOON and MIDNIGHT as it is unambiguous and will nt be confusing or misunderstood.
As to whether it is AM, Am, am, a.m. or ante meridiem .... I do not think the dictionaries are necessarily the best guide. While a.m. might be the dictionary definition, it is only the consensus or popular way it is used. Dictionaries merely document the generally accepted way to use words, but word usage does change with writing style and usage. And when it does the definition in the dictionary will also change. I see that using AM (or PM) is the Wikitravel style and usage definition. In other words it is our way of doing things, like american spelling, we have chosen a particular path for some very good reasons. Some of those reason include clarity, ease of writing and viewing as well unambiguous meaning. I do not think many people will confuse AM for amplitude modulation when expressed in the context of opening hours.
For times that cross time-zones, either identify the time standard being used or state it is the local time of each destination. -- Huttite 05:30, 1 Dec 2005 (EST)
I reckon 24h is less confusing and would be surprised if that puts me in a minority. However, what's most confusing of all about 12h is that so many people frequently get it wrong when editing - "AM"s which should be "PM"s and vice-versa, and of course "12 AM" and "12 PM".
How about entering times in a format such as [12:34] and then a truly standard "style" being applied when the page is output?
I've seen mention of "skins" somewhere - couldn't people then have times displayed in their preferred format?
(apologies for poor descriptions - not familiar with the terminology)

AM vs a.m.[edit]

Reopening discussion, as the policy was just changed w/o discussion. Jonboy 11:56, 1 March 2006 (EST)

The most common method for listing ante meridiem or post meridiem used in written text is a.m. and p.m. The only time that AM or PM is used is on time tables on doors of stores. Style guides recommend a.m. and p.m. Times should be listed as: 12:30 a.m. format

Why should we make the effort to change? It doesn't seem even remotely worth it to me. --Evan 14:17, 1 March 2006 (EST)
Why not use whatever the majority of airlines use? -- anon
From a graphics design point-of-view, lowercase looks much much better. Enough to make it well worth the change. I prefer the version without the periods. -- Mark 01:55, 8 March 2006 (EST)
AM and PM are widely used, e.g. on signs as someone mentions above. The issue here is not design in the sense of how it looks, but design for clarity, easy recognition. I agree am and pm look better, but I'd say AM and PM are obviously correct. Pashley 05:44, 9 May 2006 (EDT)

I think the all-caps version looks ugly, and that the periods look even uglier. Count me as someone who'd like to change to 'am' and 'pm' -- if we can go to the effort of completely changing telephone number formats, we can certainly manage switching times over, particularly since so few attraction listings actually include a time. -- Colin 23:18, 9 May 2006 (EDT)

Despite my comment above, after looking at a few listings, I agree. am and pm are more readable. So I'd say we should use am and pm in North america and 24-hour clock (see discussion further on) everywhere else. However, Evan's question is a good one; it may not be worth the effort of changing. Pashley 08:31, 11 May 2006 (EDT)

Can we get some consensus on this particular question? My opinion is that lower case am or pm (without periods) looks far better than AM or PM - certainly much better than A.M. or P.M. Using capitals appears to make the times far less legible... Paul James Cowie 07:08, 26 May 2006 (EDT)

There is no "obviously correct" choice. I'm in favor of "am"/"pm", also for general readability. As for the burden of changing, usage is still pretty inconsistent in Wikitravel at this point, so I don't see a gradual transition as substantially more onerous than MoS-ing in general. - Todd VerBeek 07:33, 26 May 2006 (EDT)

Interesting (?) WikiPedia:24-hour_clock quote[edit]

"This system is the most commonly used time notation in the world of today. The United States is the only industrialized country left in which a substantial fraction of the population is not yet accustomed to it."

At the risk of opening a can of worms, I wouldn't be too averse to standardizing on the 24-hour clock elsewhere in the world (it's what all schedules etc use anyway, so even Yankees better get used to it) and letting the USA fester in its own legacy cesspool — we already do this for miles, Fahrenheit etc anyway. Jpatokal 21:54, 5 March 2006 (EST)

A quote from the Cambridge page [1] on the ISO Standard date format:

"The 24h time notation specified here has already been the de-facto standard all over the world in written language for decades. The only exception are a few English speaking countries, ...

"Please consider the 12h time to be a relic from the dark ages when Roman numerals were used, the number zero had not yet been invented and analog clocks were the only known form of displaying a time. Please avoid using it today, especially in technical applications! Even in the U.S., the widely respected Chicago Manual of Style now recommends using the international standard time notation in publications.

I'd say the 24-hour clock is definitely the way to go. Pashley 10:12, 9 May 2006 (EDT)

I'm fine with allowing 24 hour time in countries where schedules are routinely printed in 24 hour format. But I'd really like to keep am/pm for Norteamerica since a) it is the most common local format, b) most travelers to Norteamerica are Norteamerican and c) I assume international travelers still recall how to read analog clocks and are therefore familar with am/pm. -- Colin 23:15, 9 May 2006 (EDT)
So you're agreeing with Jpatokal above. I'm happy with that too. Sounds to me like we have a consensus. Anyone want to scream before I change the page? Pashley 08:16, 11 May 2006 (EDT)
Scream. I think it's a bad idea to change MoS pages for marginal advantages, especially when we have so many guides already started. Can you justify why changing from 12h to 24h is worth the time, effort, and disruption? I don't think it is. --Evan 09:11, 11 May 2006 (EDT)
No scream. I assume that in many existing guides with input from people outside the US, 24 hour time was used already, because those users (me included) didn't even know about the current style guide. Also, for most non-US Wikitravel visitors it's quite troublesome to convert the 12-hour AM/PM times to the usual 24-hour times. A guide should help, not create or add "problems". --Túrelio 14:56, 13 May 2006 (EDT)
SCREAM! I've been happily ignoring all rules with regard to dates and times. Additionally, I'm somewhat surprised that policy hasn't been changed since it seems we have a consensus with the exception of Evan's objection, which seems to stand on the objection that he was expecting a wholesale conversion of 2AM to 02:00 on every single guide. For the sake of compromise I suggest we adapt this as policy and no one go out of the way to change every single 2AM to 02:00. To further my arguments I trump The traveller comes first. I'm more than willing to wade in my "legacy cesspool" for the sake of everyone else in the world. -- Sapphire 03:48, 13 September 2006 (EDT)
Andrew: all I'm asking is for someone to say, "Yes, it's worth the trouble of changing every single guide to have 24 hour time." I don't think it's the case. Is 24-hour time so much better that it's worth the effort? Or is this just a run-around for Wikitravellers who could be spending their limited time on the site doing more important things?
I'm less interested in this particular case than in the general case. It's pretty important, when proposing a change to the MoS, to take into account the amount of effort it's going to take to change it. --Evan 16:07, 13 September 2006 (EDT)

Moved from Evan's talk page:

Also, I'm not very hell-bent on spelling out the days of the weeks, however, I am a strong believer in 24 hour format and I think converting to that format should be a route to explore. I originally hated the 24 hour format, but I changed my opinion of the format about two months ago. I'm very tempted to say that it would be worth the hassle. It's not as a daunting task as changing 10,000 articles since many (like Ajax) don't even have times or dates in the article. Also, it took us roughly four months to get rid of the "External Links" section. While I'm sure MoSing time formats will take a little longer than four months. I don't believe converting from AM/PM to 24 hours will distract too much from the and constructively contributing to Wikitravel, since I think most people will MoS the format as they just happen to notice the difference in formats on an article. -- Sapphire 16:53, 13 September 2006 (EDT)

I just want to make sure that people are a) thinking in terms of what's best for the project and for the traveler, not just of their own personal preferences, b) accepting that making MoS changes means changing a lot of articles, and c) not changing itsy-bitsy things on the MoS so often that its value as a reference becomes meaningless. --Evan 17:35, 13 September 2006 (EDT)
I understand those concerns and my personal preferences with regards to certain things have been developed over travelling and talking with travellers. When I send an email to a friend in Poland telling her the time I'll be arriving I always use "14:37" or whatever because it's the format she's familiar with and it leaves no doubt that she won't show up at 2 in the morning and I won't have to wait 12 hours. While in Warsaw I missed my train to Germany, because of my disregard for the 24 hour format. The woman in the ticket office tried to tell me the my train left at "8 PM", but since she wasn't very familiar with English I ended up missing my train since it actually left at 8 AM. It's somewhat easy to look over the "A" or "P" and confuse the times. -- 18:48, 13 September 2006 (EDT)

Is this can of worms being handeled? I think because of the nature of this guide / wiki we should try to adopt the most easy time notification system available. PM / AM is not common outside UK and and US. I'd prefer the 24 hour format. Aixroot 08:54, 19 August 2010 (EDT)

#International time formats --Peter Talk 13:01, 19 August 2010 (EDT)

Days of the Week[edit]

alternative "Mon-Tue" format suggestion (compromise?):

Abbreviate to three letters, ie Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun


  • Spell out when it is part of a named day, eg Good Friday, Fat Tuesday
  • If it looks odd or ambiguous in a particular context, spell it out
  • Spaces should be left out, eg "Mon-Fri" not "Mon - Fri" or "Mon thru Fri"
  • For consistency/clarity, include the dash for consecutive pairs of days, eg "Sat-Sun" not "Sat Sun"
  • When combining days with time, put the days first, eg Mon-Fri 10AM-2PM rather than 10AM-2PM Mon-Fri
  • For all seven days, use "daily" - do not use "every day" or "Sun-Sat"
I like the three-letter forms for use in schedules, listings, etc. It makes easier reading than the shorter abbreviations. I'm a little amazed that the short ones were even proposed, let alone used. In running text, I see no reason to abbreviate at all. Use Monday, Tuesday, etc. because it is clearer. The traveller comes first so easy reading comes way ahead of saving bytes. Pashley 05:53, 9 May 2006 (EDT)
I agree with the use of three-letter forms. I also prefer the term "daily" to "every day". - Cybjorg 03:02, 16 May 2006 (EDT)
I think two or three letter forms are the way to go. M-Tu is weird, as it is not consistent. M has one letter, while Tu has two letters. By using a two or three letter-system, it's consistent, thus more readable. And it's still abbreviated if we use Mo-Tu or Mon-Tue. Globe-trotter 20:20, 22 December 2009 (EST)
I think the time is long past to be discussing this. =) Space is at a premium in listings, and M Tu W Th F Sa Su are commonly used enough that no one should get confused. LtPowers 22:23, 22 December 2009 (EST)
It'd be great if on Wikitravel:Time and date formats, the use of placement of "daily" could be specified as it is on the Wikitravel:Star nominations page; on the former, no where is mentioned that "daily" should be placed after the hours of operation yet on the latter it specifically states the placement. Zepppep 14:18, 22 February 2012 (EST)

ISO Standard dates[edit]

There is an ISO standard (ISO 8601) for date formats [2] The date given above — 05:53, 9 May 2006 (EDT) — comes out in it as 2006-05-09 05:53 -5 I'd suggest we use 2006-05-09 05:53 utc-5, adding the "utc" makes it more readable. An important advantage is that this date format is the same across language versions, unlike month names. Adding "utc" does not cause a problem there in european languages. The standard uses the 24-hour clock. Pashley 09:45, 9 May 2006 (EDT)

Triple consensus?[edit]

My reading of the above is that we have consensus that three changes would be a good idea:

  • use 24-hour clock except in North America
  • replace "AM" with "am" when using 12-hour clock
  • use three-letter abbreviations for days of the week, for easier reading

Am I wrong about the consensus on any of those?

What we don't have consensus on is that making any changes is worth the trouble. I'd agree with Todd's comment; we aren't all that consistent now so a gradual change is not going to be too burdensome. Anyone else want to comment? Pashley 10:05, 26 May 2006 (EDT)

Me too for all of the above. Jpatokal 11:02, 26 May 2006 (EDT)
No Change - Sorry, but I don't see the need to replace "AM" with "am" the advantage is marginal and all of the star articles would need to be changed and I am guessing, but likely most of the Guide articles would need change as well. And for that matter I don't really see the need to change anything in the standard. I would not be against the 24 hour clock, but the standard has been American English... Why vary in this standard? -- Tom Holland (xltel) 11:27, 26 May 2006 (EDT)
I disagree that having different time formats in different areas is preferable. I think that three-letter abbreviations will make the hours too long. I also disagree that making any of these changes is worth the effort. --Evan 17:29, 26 May 2006 (EDT)
Making the hours listings longer at the expense of making them readable (as opposed to "decryptible") is a sacrifice I'm OK with. "Sa Su" looks like the name of a German Linux distro, not a reference to the two days of the weekend. Frankly, 24-hour time - as sensible as it is - is similarly cryptic to those who haven't lived with it, and using different standards on different pages will just confuse the heck out of the majority of editors who simply (sort of) follow existing examples rather than reading the MoS page. -Todd VerBeek 17:44, 26 May 2006 (EDT)

Moved from Wikitravel:Listings[edit]

I'm I wrong that the Wiki folks want the date/time to be: Tu-F 2PM-5PM. Unizeppelin 03:07, 13 September 2006 (EDT)

Days of the week[edit]

I have no idea if I'm starting a new discussion or reviving an old one, but I'd really like the policy to require days of the week to be spelled out. I used to use abbreviated day names, but I've come to dislike abbreviated names for days. I believe policy tell us to use the minimum number of letters required to abbreviate a day's name for the sake of space, but that doesn't seem to be very 'professional.' (Maybe, it's personal preference.) Would anyone object to this change? -- Sapphire 03:31, 13 September 2006 (EDT)

Yes, I would. First, is this important enough to change every guide on the whole site? Only for your personal preference? Second, very short day names are the standard for most guidebooks. They take up a lot less space and visual room, and if you're leafing through a lot of listings, it's very easy to tell "W" from "Th". --Evan 16:13, 13 September 2006 (EDT)

24 hour party people[edit]

What is our policy on how to display hours when a business is open around the clock? I was thinking just writing "24 hours," e.g.,

M-Th 9AM-2AM, F-Su 24 hours

Is this style write-up intelligible to non-US nationals? Is this the best way to do this? If so, I'll add it to the policy page. --Peter Talk 00:48, 8 November 2007 (EST)

Looks OK to me, and I've been doing more or less the same thing in Singapore (cf. The Balcony at [3]). Jpatokal 01:31, 8 November 2007 (EST)

International time formats[edit]

Our policy has been to always use the American time format (AM-PM), and policies can be hard to change, but I don't think it makes sense. When a country uses the 24 hour format, in my opinion we should also for the articles that cover that country. This is useful in a very basic way, since times will be displayed in 24 hour format and will not align to what we have written. I also really dislike the argument that we should use the American format to keep from confusing Americans. First, my country is a resilient nation and should be able to handle it; second, the argument can be applied in reverse to virtually the entire rest of the world. This would also match our (finally) updated spelling policy to use local spelling in articles (throughout the English speaking world).

So I propose we use local time formats. Changing this policy does not, as has been argued above, mean that we need to spend tons of time modifying all our articles for marginal benefit. It does, however, mean that we will not have to force star nominations for destinations outside the U.S. to fit a policy that does not make sense. Objections? Agreement? --Peter Talk 08:54, 3 September 2008 (EDT)

Just to clarify -- "local time format" means one of the two common options, right? We should also add the formatting rules for the two common options to the policy page. Given this, I support a change. -- Colin 11:06, 3 September 2008 (EDT)
Yes and agreed. --Peter Talk 11:55, 3 September 2008 (EDT)
Objection. Let me state up front that I am a personal proponent of 24-hour time and use it myself where possible. However, I do have a problem with the proposal as stated above. First, the "confusion" principle is not as reciprocal as claimed; I can't imagine users outside North America being confused by a 12-hour time format because that's precisely what analog clocks use. Unless the rest of the world has switched entirely to 24-hour digital clocks, a 12-hour format should be perfectly intelligible. (Unfortunately, 24-hour formats still require a majority of Americans to do some mental calculation -- myself included, although I can do it very quickly.) This is important because of my second point -- I feel we should be consistent in format. It's confusing to editors to have different standards based on the location of the article's subject. LtPowers 09:08, 6 October 2008 (EDT)
While it's true that Americans are going to have the most trouble with this, the problem is that they ARE going to have this trouble once they get to the country. Checkin times, train timetables, flight times and everything else will be printed in 24 hour time, and so it seems to me we would actually be helping the traveller by getting them to adjust to this difficulty sooner rather than later. -- Colin 16:06, 6 October 2008 (EDT)
True, so I wouldn't object to mandating 24-hour format throughout the site. I just don't like having different formats on the same site. LtPowers 19:56, 6 October 2008 (EDT)
As I see it, there are three issues here: 1) Time formats should match local timetables, 2) 24 hour time formats may confuse Americans, 3) Formatting should be as standard as possible.
Re: 1 & 2, I think #1 outweighs #2. While Americans might have trouble dealing with a foreign time format, they'll need to figure it out anyway to deal with local train schedules and posted opening/closing times. I think it's better that our formats match those of posted schedules in the location we're writing about.
3). I don't agree that it's always desirable to have standard formatting across the entire site. After all, we do use local spelling. In addition to the aforementioned benefit of alignment with local schedules, allowing local time formats means we won't have to reformat contributions from locals who are naturally using the format most familiar to them.
We've been pushing for more local formatting over the years, from highway designations, to phone number formats, to spelling. I see no reason to make this an exception. As long as the formatting differences would not apply to an area greater than that which would be covered by a single travel guidebook, I think we should be OK. --Peter Talk 15:10, 7 October 2008 (EDT)
FUCK! I've been spending so much time rewriting everything to AM/PM format, because i thought it was mandated here (someone sometime changed all my times to AM/PM format at one point). GRRRRR!!!! anyway - just a rant, never mind me, I would whole heatedly support not having to the work in the future, just a damn shame I have to go over the 200+ listings i changed in Copenhagen, all over again. Talking of that, is there any particular reason none has commented on my Copenhagen/Østerbro star nomination? Sertmann 18:22, 7 October 2008 (EDT)
No worries, this doesn't have to be a requirement. We can put in the policy that 24hr format for non-US destinations is preferred. In any rate, I don't see such a small issue holding up a star nomination. --Peter Talk 18:39, 7 October 2008 (EDT)
Oddly, I remember the "use American English" version of the Wikitravel:Spelling page, even though it was changed back in March. I hadn't realized that policy had changed. LtPowers 09:20, 8 October 2008 (EDT)
I'm happy with this proposal as it stands. "When a country uses the 24 hour format, in my opinion we should also for the articles that cover that country." So we should us that more-or-less everywhere except North America.
If we decide that consistency is really important and we must limit ourselves to one format, I'd say it should obviously be the 24-hour clock used by most of the world. However, I don't think that is necessary. Pashley 19:56, 22 December 2009 (EST)

I think Wikitravel should follow international guidelines most as possible. The American system is really complicated with the AM-PM-stuff (and it's cluttering too). It's even so complicated that we need to use words like noon and midnight as people don't have a clue whether it's 12AM or 12PM. And what do AM and PM even mean in the first place, I really wouldn't know. An exception could be made for the United States, but I think other countries should just use the 24-hour system. I don't know exactly how it is in the US, but I'm pretty sure most of them understand this system as well. Globe-trotter 20:03, 22 December 2009 (EST)

No, not really. While it's likely a majority of Americans know what 24-hour time is, they have to do a mental calculation in their head to understand a given time (between 1300 and 2359, of course). Even I, who use 24-hour time on my watch and computer, still have to do a mental translation to 12-hour time. That said, I find it hard to believe that the rest of the world finds the 12-hour clock equally baffling. You do have analog clocks, right? LtPowers 22:22, 22 December 2009 (EST)
Agreed. AM/PM is the way every analog clock in the world works. We can probably agree on what the commonly accepted local spelling variations are, but I doubt we can define a one correct local time format. The major English speaking countries of the world use and understand the AM/PM format, to mix it up for different articles has very little benefit, and we should avoid such parochialism anyway on an international travel site. --inas 00:32, 23 December 2009 (EST)
Obviously the whole world uses analog clocks, and use the 12-hour system in every day speech, but not the AM-PM-system. In my country, the Netherlands, and I think this counts for pretty much everywhere in Europe, people really don't know what AM and PM stand for or what it means. The 24-hour system is an international system, used in the whole world (except the US), now Wikitravel hours basically are only understood by Americans. I don't see why the whole world should follow a confusing American system. That's why I think it's best to use the AM/PM-system for American articles and the international standard for the rest of the world. If we want to use the 12-hour system for the whole world, this is possible, but without AM/PM (something like "in the morning" should then be added). Globe-trotter 17:45, 23 December 2009 (EST)
I just don't agree. AM/PM are universally understood in the UK, in Australia, in New Zealand and in Canada. The meaning AM/PM for anyone that doesn't understand them will be in any English dictionary of any English dialect, and they are part of standard English. I'm not aware of any official standard that would make the 24-hour system more international than any other. The argument that they aren't used in the Netherlands isn't consistent with sites like Schiphol Airport [4], which list all their opening hours in AM/PM format. --inas 17:59, 23 December 2009 (EST)
I'm with Globe-trotter, I know AM/PM only because I've used it so much on Wikitravel, before I always had to search the backstreets of my mind whether AM was after midnight or after mid-day. We never say AM or PM here, we say just say Klokken 10 and only if that can be ambiguous we say in the morning or afternoon, or just say it in 24 hour format. In written form we always use 24 hour format.
As for the Schiphol example, check the Dutch, French, Chinese and German versions - they are all in 24 hour format for the same reason.
While we both obviously make mistakes once in a while, I think it's fair to say that both of us are fairly fluent in English, I very rarely use a dictionary to write here, so I think it's a bit preposterous to question our fluency frankly. And I suspect many other non-native speakers use the English wikitravel - we cover few languages, and the English content is leaps and bounds ahead of the languages we do cover, so I personally think it's OK to take those nationalities whose ancestors were not British subjects into consideration. --Stefan (sertmann) talk 18:14, 23 December 2009 (EST)
The main Dutch airport uses AM/PM when writing in English, and 24hr time when not writing in English. I'm merely suggesting that it is no way unreasonable that we do the same. The claim was made that AM/PM is only understood by Americans and that was the point I was refuting - not that we make a guide for ex-British colonies.
I'm also not questioning fluency, but I am strongly suggesting that AM/PM are as much part of the English language as BC/AD, or AC/DC. --inas 18:49, 23 December 2009 (EST)
And I'm trying to convey that AM/PM are not as much part of the English language as BC/AD, or AC/DC. The two latter are widely used in English spoken outside the old empire, while the former is not. Quick mental conversion < Dictionary. --Stefan (sertmann) talk 19:23, 23 December 2009 (EST)
A person not understanding AM/PM will have difficulty using the Japan Rail Timetables (Hyperdia). Won't understand the departure times on the Berlin Airport website, or the opening hours of the shops at Schiphol. Won't understand the 300,000+ pages that google returns in the .nl domain the use am/pm, or the 3 million pages in the .de domain. Won't understand the opening times for the museums in St Petersburg. If you want to reserve a car from CDG, and you can do it in French, then 24hr time will be fine. If you want to do it in English, you had better understand AM/PM.
Before we level the accusation at AM/PM of either being U.S. centric, or now "old-empire" centric, we really need to take issue with the millions of continental European (and other) sites that also use this format.
AM/PM is a prerequisite for navigating through and understanding English language travel websites related anywhere in the world.
Although I'd live with 24hr time being used, I'd really hate to see the site split into different usage regions - it just sends the wrong message IMO, and increases ambiguity.
Would a quick reference guide article be useful? --inas 20:23, 23 December 2009 (EST)
Schiphol only uses AM/PM at the English shopping page, at all the other pages (in English and other languages) it doesn't use AM/PM. Which probably has to do with KLM's alliance with Northwest Airlines. If we're using airport websites, I really did my best to find AM/PM at even one airport in the UK, Ireland, mainland Europe, Canada, and I couldn't find it on even one of them. Europeans don't understand AM/PM unless they first look it up somewhere. Maybe British would recognize it as they are culturally close to the US, but they don't regularly use it. Globe-trotter 00:46, 24 December 2009 (EST)
When looking at temperature, it already seems we already follow local customs. Celsius for the whole world, Fahrenheit for the US only. So I think that is also a good policy for time and date. The US is the only major country that did not adopt the metric system as seen here: [5]. Globe-trotter 13:31, 28 December 2009 (EST)
But the US is not the only country that routinely uses a 12-hour clock. It seems to be primarily non-English-speaking countries that primarily use a 24-hour clock. Certainly the 12-hour clock is common in Canada and from what I understand in the UK and Australia as well. LtPowers 13:26, 29 December 2009 (EST)
The 12-hour clock is used everywhere, but my objections are about using AM and PM. The majority of the world has no idea what it means or what it stands for. globe-trotter 13:34, 29 December 2009 (EST)
And again, I really don't see why we would prefer using something that's ambiguous over something that's not. Why leave us gaspless Europeans confused if a boat leaves 8 in the morning or afternoon, when we can just write 8/20? The fact that I didn't properly learn the AM/PM system before I followed the lead of others in writing up on the Copenhagen guide, despite having travelled rather extensively to well over 30 countries, on 4 continents should despite claims of the opposite give some clue about how little the system is used in large swaths of the world - And I rely as much on my English as a native speaker when outside our borders - Danish is not really a world language you know. --Stefan (sertmann) talk 13:50, 29 December 2009 (EST)
By 12-hour clock, I mean a conceptual one with AM/PM labels, not a physical clock. In Canada, you're not going to see 24-hour times any more frequently than you do in the U.S., and it seems the same is true in other major English-speaking countries. LtPowers 15:58, 29 December 2009 (EST)
You don't see it that often in the UK - National Rail [6], National Express [7], British Airways [8], Heathrow [9] and the Tube [10] uses the 24 hour format for example. --Stefan (sertmann) talk 16:21, 29 December 2009 (EST)
The UK certainly uses the 24-hour system, at least in written form. I wouldn't know for the other Anglo-Saxon countries though. In Australia I see that Sydney Airport uses the am/pm system, while Melbourne Airport uses the 24-hour clock. In New Zealand ChristChurch Airport uses am/pm, while Auckland Airport uses the 24-hour system. In Canada, both Toronto and Montreal use the 24-hour clock. So at least it seems these countries are familiar with both systems. With the US as exception obviously. globe-trotter 07:38, 31 December 2009 (EST)

Round X[edit]

Is this discussion closed?
In many parts of the world times are written in th 24h-format but when explaining something verbally in English, people will use am/pm very often. If someone - say, a travel agent in Asia - tells you the departure time of a bus they'll say e.g. "Departure is at 5 pm" or "at 5 in the afternoon". Printed tickets will most likely say "Departure: 17:00" but when they write it down, they will write "5 pm". I think that's because many are used to accommodate for US travellers or because for many spoken equals written English.
I think we should use the format that is being used on tickets, time tables, etc. in the given country (and I'd say that's the 24h-system almost worldwide - how are times on flight tickets printed in the US?). We know the US will use the am/pm system for a while. But a US traveller will need to do the mental calculation anyway. Just as most of the rest of the world, especially us Europeans, may need to do a mental calculation when giving times verbally (personally I'm having no troubles doing that - come on, it's not that hard, is it?).
As an example, in Austria we're using the 24h clock everywhere. But when times are verbally communicated (in German) we use both "um 5 Uhr [nachmittags]" ("at 5 o'clock [in the afternoon]" - morning/afternoon is only said if it's not obvious anyway) and "um 17 Uhr". In English we never say "at 17 o'clock". We say "at 5 pm" if it's not obvious that "at 5" means afternoon anyway.
Oh, and by the way, Wikipedia says that the US, Canada, UK (and Northern Ireland), Liberia and Myanmar are the last countries to not use the metric system. --MacCool 13:05, 25 August 2010 (EDT)
Well, the 24 hr clock isn't related to the metric system, but I'm regardless in support of a change to local formatting, which would parallel our policy on spelling. --Peter Talk 13:30, 25 August 2010 (EDT)
Ok, who would approve such a motion? Does it need a poll or something similar? --MacCool 14:33, 2 September 2010 (EDT)
I would also agree such a policy. It would be A LOT of work to change the formatting though. --globe-trotter 14:41, 2 September 2010 (EDT)
To come to a firm decision (and right now we are somewhere in between policies—we do have a star article using the 24 hr clock), we'd just need more input—preferably as wide as possible, since such a change would apply to a vast quantity of articles. You might try listing it on the Wikitravel:Requests for comment --Peter Talk 16:35, 2 September 2010 (EDT)
I will come down again against this proposal, in the interests of consistency, but I don't think my holdout will change any minds. If the change to policy is made, it should be emphasized (as mentioned in one of the above sections) that we need not immediately change every article on the site to comply. LtPowers 16:39, 2 September 2010 (EDT)

Round III[edit]

Seeing as a star nomination was almost sidelined over this matter, I thought it would wise to revisit this issue. I for one am fully in favor of changing to local time formats for many of the reasons already stated, but I'll throw in another point here - the primary argument presented against this proposal is that it would break consistency on this site, which I understand. But I think trying to enforce this one format is actually harming consistency on the site. Go look at some random article for Europe and you're likely to see some listings in AM/PM format and some in international time format. The reason is simple enough: experienced editors are going to put listings in the format our rules require, while new contributors (oftentimes locals) are going to put in the local format that they are familiar with.

Now obviously, we can't expect new contributors to know how to follow our manual of style exactly, but when we're talking about such a widespread and glaring difference between what locals add and editors change, I'd say we have a problem on our hands. Every star article we have was built by a local who was familiar with the area and an experienced editor who knew how to format according to our standards (sometimes both roles were filled by the same person, sometimes they were filled by different individuals). I say this to illustrate the importance of encouraging locals to contribute to our guides, even in such seemingly small matters as these. Just above in this very discussion we have Sertmann who ran into difficulties trying to improve the Copenhagen articles - now Sertmann was willing to keep with it and finish the job, but not every local contributor is as persistent as that.

I believe changing to local time formats would have the advantages of bringing our guides closer to what travelers will actually see when they arrive in a country with these different time formats and make things just a little bit less confusing for any locals who want to add content, which helps us all out. PerryPlanet Talk 00:43, 23 June 2011 (EDT)

I have never understood why WT does not use the 24 hr clock. It is unambiguous, overcomes the noon/midnight problem and for many people is more intuitive. I have spent a lot of time and energy assisting in the universal application of a common format to many WT articles and this almost always involves dealing with multiple date and time formats being presented in an article. I often come across highly ambiguous information such as 9.00-12.00, so what is this? 09:00-24:00, or is it 9AM-12 noon or 9AM-12 midnight, or is it perhaps 9PM-12 midnight, or even 9PM-12 noon. Transport times and nightclubs especially present a dilemma in this sort of situation. This is why the airlines, maritime users and the military do not mess about with the issue and use the 24 hr clock. Stylistically 23:00 also looks better than 11PM, or at least to me it does. Despite a lot of hard work by myself and other editors who strive to unify and standardise the WT page presentation I would be happy to see the 24 hr clock adopted even though it would make redundant a lot of hard work done on the AM/PM standard. To be honest I often feel a little embarrassed changing everything to AM/PM when my instinct and normal practice is to use the 24 hr system. I have noted that some editors suggest that North American articles should be exempted if the 24 hr system is adopted. That makes no sense to me. If we have a common standard then that is what it should be. Most Americans can count and I think we should assume they can work this out. In any case the military, civil aviation and others use 24 hr in N. America without significant confusion. I believe the issues raised by PerryPlanet above deserve some serious attention. -- felix 02:14, 23 June 2011 (EDT)
If we want a universal standard, then I think it should certainly be the 24 hour format, as that is the standard throughout most of the world. The laborious use of AM/PM has never sat well with me. If though the consensus is to use the format most likely to be encountered by travellers, then I am fine with that also providing that is very clearly defined somewhere easy for users to find. --Burmesedays 05:22, 23 June 2011 (EDT)
To me, the most important is consistency, I do not like the idea of different articles having different time formats. I do not think it is very important whether we choose 24 hour or 12 hour format and I can support either, as long as it is mandatory for all articles. But if I had to choose, I would prefer the 24 hour format as it is the most widely used, --ClausHansen 11:20, 23 June 2011 (EDT)
Consistency is a friend of consensus, but an enemy of diversity. There are clearly differing popular views of how time and date should be displayed, at least partly based on culture or what we are used to, and none is right or wrong. The suggestion to have a compromise based on region goes some way to resolving the debate e.g. to use US format for North America and UK or European format for Europe. No doubt Australasia has a preference, although I don't know which it is. That just leaves the non-English speaking continents of Asia, S America and Africa. Maybe S America goes with N American practice, Asia with Indian practice (as the major "English-speaking nation" i.e. English is certainly an important and official language) and Africa with South African usage. These are just suggestions as to how it might work; the idea is to reach a compromise that leaves most of us happily writing articles rather than seeking a consensus that will never be achieved. --SaxonWarrior 12:16, 23 June 2011 (EDT)
Hard to disagree that SaxonWarrior has some very good points however I suggest the solution should really be as simple as the answer to the question; how many hours are there in a day? In any case to regionalise overlooks that the articles are not just written for domestic (within region) travellers so the reader may likely be from a different region. So are we writing for US travellers here, or Indian travellers or English speaking travellers, but not necessarily English as a first language so they could be from anywhere on the globe. I come across people who are confused by AM/PM- 12 hr times and also those who just cannot get it with the 24 hr concept. For some of them the subtraction of 12 from any time after 12:00 hrs (13:00 hrs (minus) 12 hr=1PM) is required to have any idea if it is morning or afternoon. I am still smiling after reading "Consistency is a friend of consensus, but an enemy of diversity" but never the less I think when it comes down to the sailing time of the ship then consistency is the way to go unless you don't mind missing the boat. To digress a little on the topic of consistency, it took me longer than it should have to realise that in Indonesia the night preceding the day is named by the day following, so, Friday 22:00 hrs (Friday night to most of us) is called Saturday night (malam Sabtu) in Indonesia. If you think I am crazy check it out, it is true. Now that is diversity at work and of course I got used to it fairy quickly, otherwise, as with the sailing ship you tend to miss out on things. -- felix 12:56, 23 June 2011 (EDT)
I can not say I agree with adopting a single sitewide consistency for the very same reasons I argued above - we have enough trouble with different time formats within European articles, the last thing we need is different time format within U.S. articles. As Peter eloquently said below, "regional consistency is for me much more important than sitewide consistency." Forget about a single one-size-fits-all format across the whole site, let's just worry about consistency within an article. I'm guessing a fair number of Europeans on this site don't like having a system used mainly by Americans imposed on them, and I don't think Americans are going to like having a system we're not familiar with (even if we should be, but that's an entirely different discussion and not one for Wikitravel) imposed on us. PerryPlanet Talk 10:17, 24 June 2011 (EDT)
(re-indenting) There was a very similar discussion over British-vs-American spelling, with a few people arguing passionately on either side and many others not really caring either way but wanting some resolution. The end compromise was simply to be consistent within an article, and in the rare cases where a dispute arose to defer to the local spelling. For the 12-vs-24 hour clock listings, I'd be completely happy with a similar compromise (be consistent within the article, but if there is a dispute the local format wins) as I don't think most travelers will have any trouble figuring out either format. -- Ryan • (talk) • 13:42, 23 June 2011 (EDT)
Here's a real trivium: until 1927 in Bavaria, railway timetables used a 12-hour clock where morning was distinguished from afternoonn only by writing the minutes in superscript and underlined i.e. 3.15 am was something like "3.15" and 3.15 pm was just "3.15". How confusing is that?! No wonder they switched to the 24 hour system! --SaxonWarrior 13:59, 23 June 2011 (EDT)
I still think the 12-hour format is more universally recognized, but I no longer have a strong preference for sitewide consistency. There is no way in heck I can live with time formats holding up a star nomination. LtPowers 14:11, 23 June 2011 (EDT)
Regional consistency is for me much more important than sitewide consistency—as a practical matter, the realities of different regions lend to certain styles being more helpful for travelers and editors. Our spelling policy was updated in recognition of that fact, and I don't see why we shouldn't adopt the same pragmatic policy here: default to the most common local standard. That makes it easy for travelers in syncing with local timetables, websites, postings, etc., and makes it easier for local editors to share their knowledge. --Peter Talk 17:07, 23 June 2011 (EDT)
I think the AM/PM system in written form is common in at least the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, so it would be logical for articles about those countries to maintain that system. For most other countries, I'd argue in favor of the 24-hour system as it is more familiar to the people living there and travellers going there will have to get used to it anyway (in most European and Asian countries no one knows what AM/PM means or what it stands for). But changing all the articles would be an enormous hassle — maybe we could install a bot to handle the changes. --globe-trotter 08:15, 24 June 2011 (EDT)
As has been mentioned before, any change to the policy should make clear that immediate conformance site-wide is not necessary; they can be changed as we go. This would be easier if we said either format is acceptable. LtPowers 09:28, 24 June 2011 (EDT)
Absolutely. A change of this scale is going to take a long time to implement. Though we should probably at least say that local format is preferred, even though either format is acceptable. PerryPlanet Talk 10:26, 24 June 2011 (EDT)

I've updated the policy according to the rough consensus apparent here. LtPowers 11:10, 9 July 2011 (EDT)

Thanks. One thing is that now it states "Use "noon" and "midnight", not 12AM or 12PM or 00:00.". For AM/PM I understand why midnight should be used, but in the 24-hour format, I think 00:00 is perfectly understandable. --globe-trotter 12:03, 20 July 2011 (EDT)
Sure, but we've gotta have some sort of consistency. If we request "noon" instead of "12:00", then "midnight" provides nice symmetry. But geez, does it really matter one way or another? LtPowers 16:45, 21 July 2011 (EDT)
It matters, because the 24 hour system was designed that noon and midnight are not necessary anymore. They only exist in the 12-hour format, because in that format 12AM and 12PM are often mixed up leading to confusion. In the 24 hour system, there can never be confusion because 12:00 always means noon and 00:00 (or 24:00) always means midnight. --globe-trotter 21:37, 13 August 2011 (EDT)
But "12:00" could mean midnight if someone isn't familiar with the 24-hour convention. So it's still clearer to use the words. LtPowers 21:42, 13 August 2011 (EDT)
Maybe I have not been clear in explaining this, you can read more about it here [11]. Using "noon" and "midnight" is completely unheard of in the 24-hour convention, and frankly, it is just plain wrong and unnecessary. --globe-trotter 11:43, 14 August 2011 (EDT)
Then, what about this rule: "If using 24-hour format, make sure that's clear; if there are no times after noon, consider using the 12-hour format (with the "AM") to avoid confusing readers expecting a 12-hour format." I have no idea what this rule was designed for. The 24 hour format is always clear, also without times after noon (even though that would be a very rare occasion). --globe-trotter 11:43, 14 August 2011 (EDT)
A reader who notes that an establishment is open from "6:00-12:00" won't know if that means morning or evening. Obviously, if it's 24-hour format, then it's morning, but without the cue of a time after 12:59, there's no way to know that it's 24-hour format. LtPowers 13:47, 14 August 2011 (EDT)
It is, because AM or PM is not shown. It can only be the 24-hour format. And well, what would you suggest otherwise? If Bangkok/Silom times are in the 24-hour format and Bangkok/Rattanakosin has only times before noon. Then both these districts would have a different time system? That's not consistent and confusing. --globe-trotter 13:50, 14 August 2011 (EDT)
That's why I only said that it needs to be made clear that the times are 24-hour. (And simply omitting the AM/PM isn't clear to anyone unfamiliar with our conventions.) There are a number of options for doing so, but the choice of which one to use would have to be decided on a case-by-case basis. LtPowers 15:35, 14 August 2011 (EDT)
I agree with Globe-trotter. Mixing the 24 hour format with the 12 hour format (by using 06:00-noon, for example) seems jarring and ultimately more confusing. --Peter Talk 19:22, 14 August 2011 (EDT)
Also agreed. Choose one standard and stick to it. Mixing them can't be be desirable.--Burmesedays 20:51, 14 August 2011 (EDT)
Where did I say one word about mixing formats? LtPowers 21:41, 14 August 2011 (EDT)
I don't think there is any need to explain that again as it is made clear by previous posters in this discussion thread.--Burmesedays 21:46, 14 August 2011 (EDT)

More complex formats[edit]

More complex time formats aren't covered yet by this policy. For days with multiple open-close times (e.g., lunch & dinner) which of the following (or some other format) should we use:

1) M-F 10AM-2PM,5PM-10PM, Sa-Su 11AM-3PM,5:30PM-10PM

2) M-F 10AM-2PM, 5PM-10PM, Sa-Su 11AM-3PM, 5:30PM-10PM

3) M-F 10AM-2PM 5PM-10PM, Sa-Su 11AM-3PM 5:30PM-10PM

And when it's more convenient to break the whole thing into categories like lunch and dinner (sometimes this can save a lot of space), should we use:

a) Lunch: 10AM-2PM daily; dinner: Su-Th 5PM-9:30PM, F-Sa 5PM-midnight

b) Lunch 10AM-2PM daily; dinner Su-Th 5PM-9:30PM, F-Sa 5PM-midnight

c) Lunch: 10AM-2PM daily, dinner: Su-Th 5PM-9:30PM, F-Sa 5PM-midnight

There are of course other possible permutations.

As with the category distinctions, I prefer to use semicolons to separate seasonal distinctions:

i) Apr-Sep M-F 10AM-2PM,5PM-10PM, Sa-Su 11AM-3PM,5:30PM-10PM; Oct-Mar M-F 10AM-2PM,5PM-10PM, Sa-Su 11AM-3PM,5:30PM-10PM

ii) Apr-Sep: M-F 10AM-2PM,5PM-10PM, Sa-Su 11AM-3PM,5:30PM-10PM; Oct-Mar: M-F 10AM-2PM,5PM-10PM, Sa-Su 11AM-3PM,5:30PM-10PM

Thoughts? --Peter Talk 22:48, 30 November 2009 (EST)

First: 2), with the caveats that a semicolon be used between "10PM" and "Sa" and that a space be used between "Sa" and "Su" (as recommended in this guideline). Second: b), these things are long enough; we should eliminate unnecessary characters. (One could even make an argument that the labels are unnecessary; simply "10AM-2PM daily; Su-Th 5PM-9:30PM, F-Sa 5PM-midnight" gets the point across, doesn't it? That's what I've been doing on the Walt Disney World articles (cf. Walt Disney World/Epcot#Eat).) Third: i) for similar reasons. LtPowers 13:49, 1 December 2009 (EST)
I don't think we should be using a semicolon there, as that would conflict with the way we present our information in other ways, e.g., "M-Th 5PM-2AM, F-Su 5PM-3AM" or in the ways shown in the second and third cases above. That is, we should use semicolons for changes in category (lunch/dinner or season, in these cases), not changes in day.
Regarding the current advice to leave out the dash between a pair of days—I think we should change that. While I see the point of using a space when a day falls outside of a set range (e.g., T Th-Sa), Sa-Su is just as much an unbroken range as F-Su, and it looks better to my mind to keep that distinction visible in the display format. And judging from my time patrolling articles, I think "F-Sa" is much more common than "F Sa".
Otherwise, I agree with your points. --Peter Talk 14:28, 1 December 2009 (EST)
I can see the argument for not using a semicolon, but using a comma produces ambiguity. LtPowers 15:07, 1 December 2009 (EST)
I agree with removing using the dash when the days are consecutive. It uses no more characters, and saves a few brain processing cycles to understand. I agree with LtPowers that 2) looks best, but that a semi-colon looks better than a comma. I understand that breaks the later construction with categories. Perhaps we could consider a fullstop to terminate each category instead of a semi-colon? --inas 18:05, 1 December 2009 (EST)
I'm happy to cave on the issue of dashes between consecutive days. I still don't agree with the semicolon idea, though. Semicolons in lists are supposed to be used only to reduce ambiguity, and I don't recognize what ambiguity you are seeing there. Mixing in commas, semicolons, and periods into what is just a list of hours seems too baroque. --Peter Talk 02:34, 3 December 2009 (EST)
Consider a (hypothetical and admittedly slightly contrived) establishment open for lunch five days a week but for dinner only on Fridays. That could present as "M-Th 10AM-3PM, F 10AM-2PM, 4PM-8PM". It's not clear whether the final clause "4PM-8PM" applies only to Friday or if it's a daily thing. (Sure, if the reader is familiar with our standards, they know that the latter situation would be designated by saying "daily 4PM-8PM", but our standards should not require familiarity with them in order to be deciphered.) Is this a common situation? No, but it's got me concerned enough that I can't fully support using only commas. But as I said, I also see your point with the semicolon. LtPowers 11:08, 3 December 2009 (EST)
That case to me looks like a good case to use a category name: M-Th 10AM-3PM, F 10AM-2PM; dinner: F 4PM-8PM. It's a little longer, but a lot clearer and wouldn't force us into more complex formatting for other more simple (and more common) hours lists. --Peter Talk 13:57, 3 December 2009 (EST)

Firstly, Apologies for my typo above. I'm happy with the dash. Secondly, I don't really see why M-F 10AM-2PM, 5PM-7PM;Sa-Su 9AM-2PM, 4PM-8PM qualifies as too baroque, it just seems clearer to me. Apr-Sep: M-F 10AM-2PM, 5PM-7PM;Sa-Su 9AM-2PM, 4PM-8PM. Oct-Mar: M-F 10AM-4PM, 5PM-10PM;Sa-Su 9AM-10PM. is a rule that can be stated clearly, is easily parseable, and avoids using commas for two different things. In the examples above where you use commas to separate days and times, I have to look back along the line very carefully to figure out when the thing is open. --inas 17:46, 3 December 2009 (EST)

And I should say these are just my suggestions as to what I think works best. I'm certainly don't feel strongly enough to obstruct any consensus developing in another direction.. --inas 20:09, 3 December 2009 (EST)

June and July[edit]

Abbreviating the four-letter months is pretty eccentric, I think, and I haven't noticed anyone doing that. Would anyone mind if I change this? --Peter Talk 17:49, 20 December 2009 (EST)

Are you saying that all the months should be abbreviated to three letters, except June and July which should be spelt out in full? --inas 18:58, 20 December 2009 (EST)
Yes, sorry for not being clearer above. --Peter Talk 19:01, 20 December 2009 (EST)
I disagree; Jun and Jul are pretty standard TLAs. LtPowers 22:21, 20 December 2009 (EST)
A couple of strategic google searches over WT would seem to indicate that when TLAs are used for the other months, more often than not Jun and Jul are used also. --inas 23:06, 20 December 2009 (EST)
Jan-Mar,Apr-June,July-Sep looks silly metinks. --Stefan (sertmann) talk 19:30, 23 December 2009 (EST)
I'd stick with Jun and Jul for consistency. Otherwise "Sept" will creep in and we'll be heading for confusion. --SaxonWarrior 08:45, 7 May 2011 (EDT)

Dates without years[edit]

We know our date format is 10 Jul 2011, but what if we put the date without a year? Should I assume that it follows that we would just say 10 Jul? It seems more natural to me to say Jul 10. --inas 19:53, 23 May 2010 (EDT)

It could be confused and read as July 2010. --SaxonWarrior 11:18, 7 May 2011 (EDT)

Can I go with "am"?[edit]

I see from the above discussion that there is no strong consensus in the AM/am/a.m. debate. I happen to prefer "am" because it's short and less obtrusive (capitals look like we're SHOUTING as they say). My precedent is the worldwide Michelin travel guides that also use this format. So if I go with "am" will that be an acceptable alternative or will I spark a huge edit war? --SaxonWarrior 08:39, 7 May 2011 (EDT)

You won't start an edit war unless you insist on your format when someone comes in and changes it. The problem is that we like consistency, and we've been using AM and PM for many years now. We could, in theory, switch to 'am' and 'pm', but we'd have to switch site-wide, and it's just not worth the trouble. LtPowers 21:40, 7 May 2011 (EDT)

Public holidays[edit]

Is there an accepted abbreviation for "public holidays". If not, do we want one? The Michelin guide spells it out. --SaxonWarrior 11:15, 7 May 2011 (EDT)


For the 24hr time format, should we always use four digits, e.g., write 09:00 instead of 9:00? I was using just three, but realized that looked confusing when the opening hours for a cafe were 13:00-4:00. --Peter Talk 16:03, 12 July 2011 (EDT)

I'm with you; I thought 3 digits would be enough, but that example does look weird. Can we say 4 digits are optional if it makes things look better? LtPowers 18:59, 12 July 2011 (EDT)
Works for me. --Peter Talk 19:40, 15 July 2011 (EDT)
~Usually 4 digits are used, so I think that would be best used site-wide. --globe-trotter 21:09, 15 July 2011 (EDT)
That was not my impression from the discussion above. I could be wrong, though; I've never left North America. LtPowers 22:15, 15 July 2011 (EDT)
I would agree with GT that using four digits across the board is by far the most common 24 hr time format. It would be simplest for WT to use that standard.--Burmesedays 22:27, 15 July 2011 (EDT)
Works for me. --Peter Talk 23:47, 15 July 2011 (EDT)
I don't know about elsewhere but it is common in Germany to use 2 digits e.g. "9 - 16 Uhr" which translates as "9 - 16 hrs". Depends how much we want to give precedence to local usage that tourists will see on shops, in brochures, etc. --SaxonWarrior 03:56, 16 July 2011 (EDT)
By using 4 digits, it assures the reader the writer really does in fact mean 09:00 and removes the need to add "AM" or "PM." There's a reason 4 digits are used -- it's impossible to misunderstand. Zepppep 09:15, 27 February 2012 (EST)

Days of the week format[edit]

Swept in from the pub

I was a bit confused by this edit. Did we switch to three-letter abbreviations for days of the week? Wikitravel:Abbreviations and Wikitravel:Time and date formats give no indication of this. Eco84 12:00, 4 October 2011 (EDT)

No, you are correct--they should be one or two letters, per the policies you linked. --Peter Talk 16:02, 4 October 2011 (EDT)
My apologies. Apparently my brain has confounded weekday abbreviations with our policy of 3-letter month abbreviations. Either that or I've simply been doing it wrong for years and never had it pointed out to me. Lesson learned! texugo 00:10, 5 October 2011 (EDT)

change to am/pm alternative[edit]

Is there anybody that still thinks AM/PM is easier on the eye than am/pm?

If not, I propose allowing the alternative am/pm — as long as the same format is used throughout the article. --118dot93dot73dot30 03:28, 27 January 2013 (EST)

Check out this. "AM/PM" was the consensus for many years for those articles which had a 12-hr local time format and was expressly stated in MoS. I prefer caps, myself. I think the main thing was that if an article had already been consistently using "am/pm" throughout, it could be left and no one was likely to start an edit war. Zepppep (talk) 22:24, 14 January 2014 (EST)
I don't think anyone is proposing it to be a hanging offence to use upper case AM or PM and we certainly don't want a mixture of styles in the same article.
As for history, AM/PM was never the consensus it's just that Evan and others back in 2003 didn't think that, having wrongly plumped for the minority choice right at the start, it was worth the effort to change for such a minor benefit.
In listings especially, a lot of upper case AMs and PMs can look quite obtrusive. I realise that capital letters are very popular in the US for notices, but most of the rest of the world realizes that, for the Latin alphabet, the lower case forms are more quickly visually distinctive. That's the reason why on the German autobahns with no speed limit and some cars travelling at speeds in excess of 300km/h (180mph) lower case is used on road signs. Also as someone else said elsewhere: "Since these two abbreviations derive from the latin phrases ante meridiem and post meridiem it seems rather ignorant (as well as ugly) to capitalise the abbeviations when the full words aren't normally capitalised. -- 16:44, 15 February 2014 (EST)
This version of the page started by User:Nurg (who, as far as I know, is our oldest user still editing here) shows that the ugly AMs and PMs and the confusing 12h format was by no means the overwhelming choice for the first couple of years and really just lingered on because of inertia and the swelling number of pages using the original wrong choice ... --Ttcf (talk) 03:34, 19 February 2014 (EST)


At the moment our page offers no guidance as to how to show the duration of a journey by car, rail or sea and we see a rich variety of notations such as 2h 15m, 2.25h, 2 hours 15min, 2h 15min.

A theme running right through our manual of style is to try and be as brief as possible, especially in listings, but without being ambiguous.

I therefore propose using the style of the number of hours in figures, immediately followed by "h", immediately followed by the number of minutes in figures. Thus, 2h15 will denote a duration of 2 hours 15 minutes.

Another example:

[[York]]. Although about 337km (210&nbsp;mi) north of London, this historic city can be reached in only 2h25 by train from King's Cross. It is famous for the Minster (cathedral), Jorvik Viking Centre, and the National Rail Museum.
--Ttcf (talk) 18:05, 10 March 2014 (EDT)