Animal Crossing: New Horizons Guide – 15 Tips and Tricks for the Best Island Vacation

A lot has changed with Animal Crossing – here are a few tips to make the most of it.

Posted By | On 20th, Mar. 2020 Under Article, Video Game Tips


It’s been several long years but finally, Animal Crossing has returned to Nintendo’s home console scene. While Animal Crossing: New Horizons still embodies the joy of living in a well-knit community with cute villagers, there’s quite a lot that’s changed from previous titles. Let’s go over 15 different tips and tricks to keep in mind while playing.

Choose Your Hemisphere

animal crossing new horizons

Upon starting the game, you’ll be prompted to choose a layout for your island. It’s also important to select which hemisphere since the game will adjust the in-game seasons accordingly. This is a big departure from previous games since only the Northern Hemisphere was enabled by default.

Seasonal Bugs and Fish

animal crossing new horizons

Fishing and catching bugs are some of the more relaxing past-times in Animal Crossing and that remains true in New Horizons. As times go by, you’ll see that certain bugs and fish can only be caught during specific days or times of the year. Make sure to keep checking around and consulting your Nook Phone for fish and bugs that have already been collected.

Collect Everything

animal crossing new horizons

When you first start out on your island, there won’t be a bustling town in place so you’re encouraged to go around, collecting as much as possible. Sell off just about anything that’s not of use for some early Bells. The game introduces crafting so even if you find junk, it can be useful in some way. Just remember not to sell off too much of your crafting materials since those will be necessary for building homes later. Also try to avoid selling items through the drop box next to Nook’s Cranny since you won’t get full value from the sale.

Nook Miles +

animal crossing new horizons

Among the many things that Tom Nook will give you at the start is the Nook Phone. Its new program, Nook Miles, allows you to claim rewards for completing different tasks. If you’re looking for something to do right off the bat, check out the Nook Miles + section. These are essentially dailies that offer quicker objectives that can be completed for extra Miles. It’s well worth it though they only become accessible after you get a house loan.

Tool Breakage

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Crafting is doubly important because every tool can now break. Yes, even your fishing rod can break from too much use and there are no indicators for when a tool is going to finally kick the bucket. Always make sure you have enough crafting materials on hand to create replacements. You’ll also want to unlock recipes for stronger tools since these break down at a much slower rate. But if you’re low on more premium materials like iron, it’s still possible to craft a weaker version of a tool and get by with it.

Donate Fossils to Nook

animal crossing new horizons

Fossils are discovered by locating different spots on the ground (denoted by an X) and digging them up. While Blathers’ museum won’t be present from the get-go, you can still donate any fossils discovered to Tom Nook beforehand. And if you’re wondering how to get Blathers to come to the island, it happens after crafting a fishing rod and net for Nook. After this, you must bring him a total of five fish and/or bugs. Blathers should be in touch soon after.

Museum Donation Tip

Animal Crossing New Horizons museum

The process for setting up the museum takes some time – first you have to choose a spot, then you have to donate 15 or so exhibits, and so on. However, check the Critterpedia app on your Nook Phone for items that you’ve already donated to Blathers beforehand. If you have multiple items and even one of them has been donated before, Blathers will refuse the whole lot. This means going through the whole process again. It’s an inconvenience that will hopefully be ironed out in a future quality of life change.

Dropping Items

animal crossing new horizons

The Pocket Organizer and Tool Wheel should be unlocked as soon as possible with Nook Miles since they make inventory management and tool selection much better. However, if you’re running out of space, go ahead and drop any items on the island. It will remain there indefinitely and pretty much remain safe until you pick it back up.

Crafting Furniture

animal crossing new horizons

As the game progresses, you’ll quickly begin to craft furniture, decorations and other items to fill out your home from various recipes. If you want to further customize any items, then look into purchasing kits from Tom Nook. You can also customize the look of different items with a workbench to give them a more personal touch.

Glowing Spots

animal crossing new horizons

Glowing Spots return in Animal Crossing: New Horizons and they serve the same function as previous games. Digging one up will usually provide 1,000 Bells but they can sometimes provide an even higher amount (it was 10,000 and 30,000 in previous games which should be the case here as well). Glowing Spots can also be used to grow money trees – just bury a bag of Bells in that spot. A money tree isn’t guaranteed to sprout though so keep that in mind before investing.

Isle Tour Cost

animal crossing new horizons

Once you’ve accrued enough Nook Miles, you can go on an Isle Tour. Purchase a ticket and you’ll be able to visit a randomly generated island, collecting items and whatnot. Here’s the kicker: It costs 2000 Nook Miles for an Isle Tour ticket. If you’ve got the Miles to spare or really want to see what’s out there, then go for it.

Don’t Leave Anything on Random Isles

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Another note when visiting random islands via the Isle Tour: Be careful not to leave anything. You won’t be able to return to the same island again so any items dropped will be lost forever. Make sure you have enough inventory space before embarking. On the flip-side, you have carte blanche to take anything you want from the island. If there are any fruits, fish or other items that aren’t on your island, feel free to collect them. Fruits especially will help for growing more varieties back home.

Floating Packages

animal crossing new horizons

At certain points in the day, you’ll see packages just floating about in the sky on balloons. Keep a slingshot handy to shoot them down and claim the rewards within. Also be careful where you happen to bring said packages down – if they fall into any water body, then the package will be lost.

Streamlined House Arrangement

animal crossing new horizons

Editing and arranging one’s house is made a lot easier in New Horizons. If you press into the Left Joycon, you’ll gain a better view of your house. It’s also possible to move several items at once by holding down the R button which helps when arranging. Overall, if you’ve ever felt like decorating your house was a chore in previous games, it should be much more streamlined here.

Unlocking the Island Designer App

animal crossing new horizons

The Island Designer app is an end-game piece of content – it’s what helps for creating paths, demolishing cliffs, waterscaping, the whole works. You’ll need to increase the island’s population, get more visitors, build more houses for residents, complete some other events (which we won’t spoil) and eventually, the Island Designer app will unlock. But wait, first you need to purchase different permits for different editing tasks. Waterscaping and cliff construction permits are 6000 Nook Miles each and easily the most essential. If you want to start tearing up the island quickly, get those first.


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