The real meaning of dreaming about time travel: 20 interpretations

We sometimes include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate disclosure.

Have you ever dreamt of traveling back in time or into the future?

We have those trips similar to science fiction books, shows, or movies that feature time travel, such as Back to the Future or Here and Now and Then.

While dream time travel to a specific point in our lives is a common thing and there’s no need to feel strange, it’s best to know what those dreams mean.

Let’s start the journey.

20 Dreaming About Time Travel Interpretations

Time travel dreams signify our journey through life. And these mean different things depending on what situation you’re in.

Time travel dreams to the past

Your past is a big part of you. When you keep thinking about past situations or talk about things from the past during your waking life, your subconscious will make it appear in your dreams.

1) You’re confused or overwhelmed

You may be having dreams about time travel as you couldn’t make sense of things happening in your waking life.

It could be that everything is happening too quickly or you have no idea what to do.

Maybe you’re also in a situation with someone where you’re trying to figure out what their actions mean.

This dream could be reminding you to have a breath of fresh air. Maybe you can take a quick break from work, go to the beach with your family and friends, or do anything that will make you enjoy the moment without worries.

If you’re confused, here’s a guide to know what to do when you don’t know what to do with your life. 

2) You wish to escape your current situation

Because your own past is such an important part of who you are, it’s only natural that when you think about them in your waking life, your subconscious will make it appear in your dreams.

If you are going through a difficult time, perhaps you wish to escape reality. You want to go back to a time when life was easier or simpler.

Perhaps you wish you could travel to a different time and place that has more pleasant memories.

Time travel in dreams reveals your dissatisfaction with your lives and current situation.

And it’s a wake-up call so you’ll get to deal with your issues and live in the present.

3) You’re filled with regrets

Are you dreaming of someone you’re no longer friends with? 

When you have time travel dreams from the past that make you unhappy and give you a sense of regret, it could be that you made bad life-altering decisions that you wish you could change or redo.

And this could be one of the reasons you’re feeling down and frustrated.

Maybe you’re filled with “what ifs.” Or perhaps you often wish things in your life had turned out differently in the past.

And you’re thinking that if you could go back in time, you wouldn’t necessarily do or say the same things.

Having time travel dreams is a sign to reflect on what went wrong, forgive yourself, and move on. And your dreams are telling you to work on an issue so you can move forward with your life.

If you’re still dealing with the guilt of breaking someone’s heart, don’t worry as you can do something about it.

4) You’re filled with nostalgia

Do you feel sentimental about a time gone by?

Maybe those trips down memory lane give you comfort and happiness. Or maybe something’s missing in your current life.

If you’re having dreams of a specific time in your life – a person or a relationship – you could be reminiscing about what you could rekindle or a time you truly cherished.

Dr. Krystine Batcho, licensed psychologist and professor of psychology at LeMoyne College in Syracuse, New York shares the psychological purpose of nostalgia,

“The thing that ties them all together is that nostalgia is an emotional experience that unifies. Nostalgia motivates  us to remember the past in our own life, helps to unite us to that authentic self and remind us of who we have been and then compare that to who we feel we are today.”

Although nostalgia has benefits, don’t get too attached to the past. Embrace the present with an open heart and mind instead.

5) You’ve been talking about the past a lot

Have you been sharing your past stories with people?

When you frequently talk about things from your past, it becomes normal to have dreams about them.

Your brain is reprocessing and reminiscing about whatever it is you don’t want to let go of. It could be someone you’re fond of, an experience that brings up painful memories, or something else.

You constantly dwell and talk about how things used to be in your past.

Hope Counseling has this to share, “our sense of self-identity can be the basis for how we cope with problems and it is acquired through our past experiences.”

Sometimes, we tend to talk about the past to tell ourselves the story of who we are now.

What you can do now is to shake off the cobwebs from your past – even if it’s your safe place. This way, you’ll get clear on the future you want to create.

6) You are stuck in the past

Is there something from your past that keeps running in your mind?

Does it feel like you’re stuck in the old market, economy, or your past career and relationships?

It could be difficult memories from the past that you can’t forget and you’re still struggling to let go of them.

Time-traveling back may indicate that you can’t move from your past yet. Instead of letting bygones be bygones, you’re creating a space for the past to remain with you.

And this could be one reason why you feel depressed and frustrated.

When you can’t let go of unpleasant or awkward memories, they return to your subconscious via dreams.

Having time travel dreams to the past signifies that it’s time for you to move on, let go, and forgive yourself or someone else for that matter.

7) You want something back

Do you keep dreaming about the same person again and again? 

One reason why you keep looking back at the past with fondness is that you’re yearning for something that you’ve lost.

It could be an opportunity you blew or someone so dear that you’ve let go.

When you feel the emptiness, you’re probably hoping to regain it through dreams about time travel.

Make every effort to move on from this.

The key is to be gentle with yourself, practice self-care, and make the conscious decision to take control of the situation.

8) You’re about to make a decision

If you dream of time traveling to a significant period in time or a historical event, it’s a manifestation that you’re at a crossroads.

It could be doing something or deciding on something big.

What you can do is seek clues from your dreams as these will help you reflect on what’s happening in your life.

9) You’re yearning for things you didn’t get to do

Did you wish to go back in time to do the things you haven’t got the chance to do before?

Or you could be asking and yearning for someone to come back. 

Perhaps you’re thinking of doing it or doing things differently if you have the opportunity.

It could be a certain situation, people you’ve met, or places you’ve visited.

This could also point towards your innate desires that remained unfulfilled. Your desires are still alive in your heart – and this turns into a dream.

Time travel dreams to the future

10) You wish to move forward

Your time travel dreams become an escape route, like a fast-forward to better times ahead.

Similar to traveling to the past, having dreams of traveling to the future indicates that you’ve been wanting to escape your present life.

It could be that you wish for better times ahead so you can skip those difficulties or unresolved problems you currently have.

11) You fear the future

Having apocalyptic dreams about the future reflects your worries and anxiousness. It could be that you fear what lies ahead and what the future will bring to your life.

Truth is, we tend to worry about the unknown – or things that aren’t likely to happen. Even if there are situations that will affect our lives, they aren’t life-threatening at all.

Never stressed too much. While no one knows what the future will be, you can do something to prepare for it.

12) You’re weighing the decisions you’ll make

When you dream of traveling forward into your future, you could be thinking about how your decisions will impact your future.

Perhaps you want to know how the choices you will make will impact your future or if everything will work out for you.

Take this dream as a reminder to consider every decision and action you will make as it will affect you and those around you. Know that every step you make will change your life for the better.

13) You’re thinking about what life would be

Have you been talking to older folks or people ahead of you lately?

And what does it mean when you keep dreaming about someone in the future?

Perhaps you’re thinking about what your life would be when you reach that stage. You could be imagining yourself, your career, or your family when you reach that age.

Having time travel dreams in the future could signify that you’re anticipating what the future holds for you.

Hopefully, these dreams will make you see the future from a brighter perspective and inspire you to be a better version of yourself.

14) You’re idealizing the future

Dreams of time travel are frequently based on hopes or wishes for times other than the present.

Maybe you’ve been more focused on what the future looks like and its promises.

It’s not wrong to be hopeful, but maybe you tend to neglect to live and enjoy the present moment. Maybe you’ve become too obsessed with what the future would be.

Having time travel dreams could signify that you’re romanticizing what it will feel like to reach that phase in your life.

And it’s also reminding you not to take small pleasures for granted and enjoy the good times while they’re happening.

15) You’re too attached to technology

Your fascination with the current technology and its advancement can lead to having dreams about time travel in the future.

It’s a manifestation of your creative and innovative mind.

Having this futuristic dream with technological advancements and human advancement could mean that you seek to see what else is there to look forward to.

According to Dream Dictionary, this could mean that you’re trying to deal with issues to make your life easier or more efficient.

16) You’re dreaming of something that may happen

There are meaningful situations that go beyond coincidence – and Carl Jung, one of the grandfathers of modern psychology, calls this synchronicity.

It could be that when you dream of time travel, you’re worried or afraid of something that hasn’t happened yet – and your subconscious could be trying to tell you something.

And when you’re dreaming about something that might happen, you’re having premonitions or “precognitive dreams”. According to Healthline, precognitive dreams are “any dreams that give you information about the future you wouldn’t otherwise have.”

Based on findings, 17 to 78% of people experienced at least one premonition or “precognitive dreams”.

Dream researchers are continuously studying people who experience precognitive dreams to get a bigger picture of how they are caused.

More interpretations of time travel in a dream

17) You’re influenced by what you see or read

When you get too engrossed with a certain movie, show, or novel, you may dream about the same period.

Too often, it’s a  reflection of what is happening in your real life.

There could be a certain situation that you like that influences your dream. You might also feel the connection to a character and you perceive it as your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. And that you desire to live this character’s life during that time.

Perhaps, you’re also creating unrealistic expectations on yourself or your life – and you need to be more practical with your needs and wants.

18) It represents our desire and search for the truth

The people you see in your dreams are often reflections of your relationship with people in real life.

This could stem from one’s desire to identify with other humans even if they aren’t part of reality. For instance, you desire the roles of superheroes and noble knights, and even mystical images in the present life.

According to David Loff, author of the book The Running Press Cyclopedia of Dreams, “traveling through time in a dream represents our wish to find life balance and define where we belong.”

19) You’re asked to shift your perspective

Are there certain situations that make you explore new options? Or are you being asked to look at your goals in a new light?

Dreaming of time travel can be a metaphor for changing your viewpoint.

This may inspire you to get out of the habit of seeing things from one viewpoint and start to view things from a different perspective.

And it’s time to finally get your act together. 

This journey in your dreams puts you in another place and time, allowing you to see the world differently.

20) It symbolizes your journey through life

If the dream transports you back in time, it may mean that you need to revisit old relationships and rekindle the flame.

This dream is reminding you to take a step forward and reconsider your previous relationships. Allow yourself the space to move past your indifferences and reestablish good relationships, and if necessary, seek forgiveness and trust.

If time travel transports you to the future, it may mean paying attention to your current situation. You may be so preoccupied with your job that you forget about the other important things in life, such as family, friends, and relatives.

This dream is reminding you to take a break and achieve balance.

Significance of time travel dreams

Dreams about time travel can teach us a lot, to be sure. It can be positive, negative, or somewhere in between, but we must always remember that dreams are not a substitute for reality.

There is a sense of either escaping or seeking the truth. You may be looking for more balance or a sense of belonging in your life. Time travel dreams can also represent our desires and hopes for the past or future.

Take note of how the dream may reflect your current life habits and actions.

If you are considering achieving a goal in the future, this could be your brain’s way of telling you that you are capable of doing so.

Know that you can let go of your emotional baggage so you can move forward on a clean slate.

The interpretation, however, will vary on the type of time travel dream you have. When trying to interpret time travel dreams, keep the dream timeline in mind. Also, consider how you felt and acted during the dream.

These dreams can also be used as a guide to navigating our life situations, but not to the point of overshadowing our current situations.

If you can steer our ship and steer it in the right direction, you will arrive at our destination steadily and enjoyably. If you’ve realized this, it’s time to come out of your bubble and face the reality of the situation.

And never worry for when you pay attention to the signs, brighter things are ahead – and for sure, love is coming your way too.

Keep this thing in mind, dreams can only be what we want them to be.

Czaroma Roman

Czaroma is a content strategist and copywriter with a purposeful mindset. She finds fulfillment in crafting content for entrepreneurs and life coaches. In a place of love and growth, she's raising a tribe of three with her husband - and writes to inspire people to create impactful relationships.

Connect with her on LinkedIn and Instagram.

“What am I about?” The answer to this most perplexing question

11 common stages of how men fall in love (complete guide)