“I really wish we could stay longer in the countries we visit, but I've been lucky to have visited most of them before, because I've done a tremendous amount of travel.” (Source Brainy Quote)
Those are the wise words given by Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan. That’s the tough part about being on the show, taking it all intends to be really difficult especially for the contestants that are focused on winning it all. The same applies to the host who’s battling against time himself. Believe it or not, Keoghan admitted that he almost missed the pit-stop locations in numerous instances because of the overall delays. That’s one of the many things that we don’t see on television.
Given that the show is shot in such a short amount of time, we can just imagine the amount of chaos that takes place when the cameras aren’t rolling. That’s what we’ll do in this article by taking a look at the behind the scenes facts that fans weren’t supposed to know about. That ranges from all sorts of things – after scrolling through this article it’ll become clear that the adventure isn’t as easy as it might seem, even though it doesn’t seem easy at all in the first place!
So how does one overcomes these obstacles, according to Phil Keoghan the answer is simple, a sense of humor. If you’re able to laugh during the rough times on the show, it’ll improve your chances.
Let’s get started, folks! Enjoy.
24 Entering Certain Countries Isn’t The Easiest
This happens to be a nagging problem we don’t see all that much during the Amazing Race. In certain places around the world such as India for example, airport security might be a lot tighter. Meaning, at times, teams lose valuable time dealing with security teams at airports around the world.
It isn’t uncommon for a team to be detained at the airport, this is done in order for the security crew at the given area to give the contestants a full search. However, this isn’t shown all that often on television. It’s just one of the real-life aspects that they must deal with.
23 Contestants Are Left Clueless On What To Pack
Just imagine you’re headed on the biggest journey of your entire life. The real kicker, you have no idea what to pack. That’s the reality on the Amazing Race. The show doesn’t send out a memo or anything of the sort in order to notify the contestants on what to bring. Instead, they’re left clueless and really have to pack based on their own discretion and whatever it is that they need.
They carry their backpacks throughout the long and arduous journey. For those that pack wisely, it’ll only benefit their game. However, on the flip side, it can also hurt a team a great deal. This is another twist fans rarely think about.
22 Crews and Contestants Lie To The People About The Show For Confidentiality
Traveling the around the world, teams are bound to encounter fans or those that are just curious in general. Given all of the camera crews following the teams, onlookers might be interested in finding out exactly what is going on.
The real kicker, contestants and camera crews are told to lie to the onlookers. When asked what they’re filming, contestants are told to say they’re filming for a documentary. Amazing Race tends to be very strict when it comes to the privacy of the show. Therefore not revealing what they’re actually doing is essential.
21 Staff & Contestants Travel With Security Teams
It might seem like the teams are racing alone without the assistance of anyone else. However, that is not the case. Traveling around the world and seeing different cultural norms, security is mandatory for the safety and well-being of not only the contestants but camera crews as well.
With that said, each team also has a security team on-hand following them throughout their Amazing Race experience. This makes traveling a lot easier and most importantly, a lot safer. Oh if only all of us can have this luxury when seeing the world!
20 Contestants Get Background Info On The Country Before
According to The Insider, teams aren’t entering countries completely blind and without any direction. Gary Wojnar, a former cast member shared the juicy details claiming the show offers the contestants a type of cheat sheet, informing them on the cultural norms along with the dos and don’ts when in the actual country.
In Bangladesh for example, according to Wojnar, the other teams were warned that US citizens weren’t the most popular aboard. With such information, perhaps it was best to keep a low profile in the area.
19 Most Of The Time Is Spent Waiting Around
The show seems to be non-stop when we’re watching it on television. The editing crew does a tremendous job in cutting out the tedious process. What we see is the great action when the teams are neck and neck.
However, according to lots of the former contestants, a lot of time is spent waiting around. It isn’t as glamorous as it seems. Whether it be waiting at the airport, driving in the car or waiting at a checkpoint, a lot of the time is spent just waiting or going somewhere, in truth. Though of course, the show doesn’t want us to know about that dull fact of the game.
18 The Food Isn’t Good
You would think traveling around the world contestants might be indulging on some of the food in the different locations. However, that isn’t even close to being the reality. Don’t forget, each team has a limited budget given by the show. Contestants aren’t allowed to bring their own money. Therefore, sources of food must be cheap and that usually includes airplane food or mere snack items.
As you might expect, former contestants haven’t had the most positive reviews when it comes to the nutrition while on the show.
17 Backpack Uncomfortable
Not only are contestants rushing and traveling the world, but they’re also forced in doing so while carrying around a gigantic backpack constantly. A lot of us wonder, is carrying that thing around constantly as hard as it looks? According to the former players, it definitely is!
Just imagine, you’re packing for a month trip around the world. That backpack basically includes everything that you’ll need in that amount of time from clothes to deodorants to everything in between. The result is a heavy and uncomfortable backpack to constantly lug around.
16 Contestants Also Buy Plane Tickets For Camera Crew
The airport life is quite common for Amazing Race contestants. However, what the cameras don’t show us is that the contestants aren’t buying two tickets, they’re actually buying four.
Each team has their own individual cameraman and sound guy. Meaning, each team is responsible for buying four tickets. At times, that can make the ticket process a lot harder. Both the cameramen and sound guys are assigned to a specific team throughout the show. So keep in mind, when they’re in the car, both those guys are also there filming.
15 Eliminated Players Sometimes Kept As Extras
As we discussed earlier in the article, the Amazing Race TV crew tends to be very serious when it comes to not spoiling the show results. Another precaution they take is turning the eliminated players into decoys or extras. This is done in order to ensure that the players keep what’s going on a secret throughout the show’s filming.
However, it is also worth mentioning that according to former players, they are not compensated for the extra work and kind of like volunteers.
14 Delays Can Mess Up The Show... For The Crew
Obviously, delays are really bad for the teams involved. This can set them back big time on the show, however for the most part that is documented by the camera crews.
However, what isn’t evidenced on the show is that the travel time can also have a toll on the camera and television crews that we don’t see on the show. It has happened in the past that camera crews barely made it to the pit-stop areas due to flight delays or lengthy checkups at the airport.
13 Getting To The Pit-Stop Area Isn’t Easy For The Host
Just like the contestants, host Phil Keoghan is in a race of his own to get to the destination. The host is also flying around the world with the other contestants, though he’s doing so at a different pace and through different flights.
The host admitted that getting to the checkpoints isn’t always the easiest especially due to unexpected airport delays. Now he hasn’t missed a checkpoint throughout his career however he does admit that a lot of cases turned into a real close call.
12 Teams Must Stay Within 20 Feet Range Of Team At All Times
We all have those moments during a long trip with a friend or loved one that we just want to enjoy some solitude time. Believe it or not, that’s not possible on the Amazing Race. Aside from let’s say a bathroom break, teammates must stay within 20 feet of each other at all times. This is required so that the camera crews can get both the teammates in a shot at the same time.
Hey, maybe that’s a reason why so many teammates have lost it on each other in the prior seasons!
11 89 Countries Visited Overall
How many countries have you visited? In all likelihood, it might be in the single digits and that’s definitely okay. Given the Amazing Race’s lengthy television run, fans might expect that the show visited various locations since its existence. Brace yourselves for this one, to date, the show has visited 89 different countries!
From stunning landscapes to popular destinations such as France and Italy, the show has really been just about everywhere and anywhere. We wonder what the total miles traveled are!?
10 All Pit-Stops Pre-Planned Before The Season Starts
Prior to the show starting, all the pit-stops are pre-planned by the show. So beforehand, the crews have an idea of every destination and exactly where the pit-stop is going to be.
Interestingly enough, the pit-stop is also a point for both teams and camera crews to finally get in some well-deserved relaxation time. On average, pit-stops last roughly 12 hours. However, there are also cases of crews staying at a pit-stop for 36 hours due to fatigue, according to The Insider.
9 Can’t Tell Friends About The Show
According to She Just Glows, the Amazing Race happens to be very strict when it comes to contestants telling their close friends about the experience. No exceptions can be made, for example, a former contestant admits to telling his parents about the show prior. However, as for everyone else, the contestant simply told them she was going on a backpacking trip without any technology.
This is another hard part of the show that is rarely mentioned. Just imagine taking a journey around the world and not being able to communicate with others when times get tough – not easy!
8 Getting On The Show Might Be Harder Than Winning It...
The traveling, the grueling competition, foreign cultures – those are just some of the hurdles teams have to climb over during their experiences. However, what might be even more challenging according to former contestants is actually getting on the show.
Various testimonials suggest that the process is a very long one. Not only are willing contestants waiting for hours at the audition but the process continues to be a grueling one once the teams are recalled months later with other rounds of videos.
7 Contestants Have A Short-Window To Get Ready For The Show
You would think the show calls its contestants months in advance given the grueling schedule. Given the outrageous task of traveling the world, it is only normal that teams need months of preparation, in large part for the mental and physical aspects.
That isn’t the case. The show calls its contestants just a month prior. It gives the hopefuls just enough time to get all there vaccinations done, which is the biggest priority according to The Insider - quite surreal that the contestants have such a short window to prepare for such a grueling experience.
6 Malfunctions Take Place But Sometimes Are Not Shown
Malfunctions are bound to happen during a race around the world whether it be the contestants or camera crews. When it happens to the contestants, it is shown, for the most part, however, there have been incidents that the show decided against showing the footage.
One particular incident saw a team’s car battery completely run out due to a camera charging inside of the vehicle. It basically sucked all of the power from the car causing it to die. Thankfully, the error wasn't detrimental to the team's overall game.
5 Contestants & Host Have Lots Of Fan Interactions
We’ve seen several examples of this, maybe not on the actual show itself but via social media. Racers are often spotted by onlookers from around the world. At times, this also causes delays for the racers.
As we suggested earlier, it is key that the contestants keep the integrity of the show alive despite the fan experiences. Thus, it isn’t an option to tell them about the show, instead, they’re told to say it is all part of a documentary. We truly wonder if anyone ever slipped up.
4 Teams Meet Up Prior To Start Of The Show
Let’s not get the Amazing Race confused with Survivor. In Survivor’s case, the contestants are basically brought to an island with no prior recollection of each other. Everything is just totally spontaneous as they’re the first meeting on the actual show. The same doesn’t hold true for the Amazing Race.
Teams actually meet prior to the first episode. That helps a lot especially in terms of teams familiarizing with one another. Traveling around the world, it helps to get an idea of who you’ll be traveling with beforehand.
3 Weather Causes A Lot Of Problems Behind The Scenes
A reoccurrence throughout this article, it is quite easy for things to go south while traveling around the world. One of the most common problems that result in a lot of setbacks is the weather. However, this problem tends to be rarely shown on the episodes themselves, it isn’t exactly must-see television seeing a member of the TV crew delayed somewhere because of the weather conditions!
It happens a lot behind the scenes and it has also led to production delays in the past because of it. Especially in the warmer climates, the weather tends to be unpredictable. That could put a big damper on the game.
2 Behind The Scenes, Crews Aren’t Helping The Teams Out
Although the teams are constantly traveling with their own crews that work the behind the scenes of the show – that doesn’t mean the crews are helping out in any way. In fact, the dialogue is actually extremely limited when it comes to game related topics.
It might seem awkward for a cameraman and sound guy to just stand there during a difficult moment in the race, though that’s exactly what they are told to do. Don’t think that they’re there to lend out a helping hand every now and then - that is not the case.
1 Each Season Isn’t Very Long In Real Time (21 days)
On-screen, the race itself looks like it lasts months and months. Especially with the 12 episodes that air once a week, the show appears to be really long. Heck, they’re flying around the world, it only makes sense that the race is that long.
Again, you would be wrong to make that assumption. In fact, according to The Insider, the game itself only lasts 21 days if you can believe! One can imagine how hectic things can get spacing out the show in such a short amount of time. Given all of the travel and ground rides, that really isn’t much time at all!
References: The Insider & She Just Glows