Travel alarm clocks: how to

When I travel, I find it useful to start distrusting my iPhone’s alarm feature right from the start, especially when there’s no reason to. Sure, it’s been 100% reliable during “regular” days, day in and day out for I can’t tell you how long, and I know from trial and error that I won’t “accidentally mute it” or anything, as long as I set it it just works, and as long as the battery is fully charged there’s usefully close to zero reasons to distrust it.

But I will. I’ll rely on it during the day without even thinking about it, maps, calendars, texts, even the occasional “call,” but the alarm gets the squint of suspicion. The $6 LED alarm clock at the hotel, which I’ve never seen or used before, will instantly seem a lot more trustworthy. But I don’t even trust that completely.

Despite innumerable counterexamples over my decades on the earth, I’ll be halfway certain that every single alarm clock around me is going to fail at the same time, so I will find it handy to set an alarm on every single device I can find.

Then, after about an initial hour of sleep, I can simply wake up to check the time at short, regular intervals; you would probably want to tweak the timing to suit your own tendencies, but I can do it every 10-15 minutes very predictably the rest of the night once I do the first check at about 11:30pm. And unlike “regular” days, I’m able to instantly fall back to sleep so I can be ready for the next check. (30 or 40 of these intervals mathematically adds up to a solid sounding night of sleep, but I’ve learned not to count them.)

This ends up being completely win/win. Even if every alarm fails at once, I will not be caught because I’m checking the time so often. And then, by the time the last hour comes along, I don’t even want to wait to get up, so I’ll be up and about 30-45 minutes early. And as a bonus, since I’m up as much as an hour early, I can turn off all the alarms I set and I ultimately don’t ever need to hear any of them. But that means I don’t know if any of them actually worked, so to be safe, I should probably just do the same thing all over again tomorrow.

(I’m exaggerating a little, this morning’s just pretty crazy and the next 5 or 6 hours has a lot of stuff going on that has to happen and once, and none of which I can be late for. After this afternoon, things get a whole lot simpler.)