The Amazing Race is arguably the best reality series of all time. With 32 seasons and over 20 international spinoff shows, it’s hard to dispute this fact. But while viewers tend to have a good time following the events, the teams don’t always have it easy. There are strict rules that they have to abide by.
Failure to stick to the regulations normally leads to penalties, which affect a team’s position at the end of a specific leg. The complete set of rules has never been made available to the public. The rules can be noted by watching the show. Some have also been revealed by past participants. The following are the most interesting rules that have been revealed during the show’s numerous seasons.
10 Only Economy Class Is Allowed While Travelling
Thinking of flying in style if you ever participate in the race? No chance. When the teams are moving from one region to the next, they are only allowed to book “economy class” on planes. This became clear in the earlier seasons when some teams attempted to hit the skies in total luxury.
The good part is that the teams don’t have to pay for plane tickets from their own purse. They use a credit card provided to them. In case the airline wishes to upgrade the team (for promotional purposes), it can do so at no extra cost. Teams are also prohibited from flying on certain airlines. They are also prohibited from using certain modes of transport in certain regions.
9 The Fanny Pack
All contestants are expected to have their fanny pack at all times. This contains their passports, cash, clues, and all other essential documentation. On rare occasions where teams check-in without their passport, they have to go back and find it. An example of this was seen in the third episode of Season 15 titled “Sean Penn Cambodia Here We Come.”
In case teams lose other basic items such as attire, they are still allowed to check-in. However, they are forced to continue with the challenge without these items instead of going to look for them.
8 Social Distancing? No Chance
One of the most important rules in the reality TV series involves distance. All the participants must stay within 20 feet of each other at all times. There are a few exceptions to this, like in moments when members meet roadblocks. Given the distance rules, it’s thus not surprising that production for Season 33 was halted due to Covid-19
All team members must also stay close to the filming crew at all times. This ensures that all conversations, sighs, grunts, and bodily movements are captured clearly. And in the cases where teams intend to use their own transportation, it must be able to accommodate the camera crew.
7 No Contacting Family And Friends Without Supervision
Thinking of having a private conversation with your family back home? Well… in your dreams. All phone conversations are monitored by members of the production team.
While contacting someone that’s far away, you cant continue with the competition until the conversation is done. Family members are also allowed to contact participants in case of an emergency. For example, in Leg 10 of Season 3. James LoMenzo’s wife contacted him to inform him about a new development regarding his dad’s health.
6 Prohibited Items
Teams are prohibited from having their own money, credit cards, language books, maps, guides, GPS units, cameras, and smartphones. There was an exception in Season 26 when contestants were allowed to have their own selfie cameras.
The teams are allowed to buy aids and maps using the stipend they are given before tasks. They are also allowed to borrow phones from any ordinary citizen. However, there are specific locations where the teams aren’t allowed to borrow things from locals. This includes all US airports.
5 Stepping On The Mat
As seen on all seasons of the show, members of a team check-in by stepping on the mat. But what happens if several teams are tied on the mat? Speaking on the Justin & Diana’s Racers Recap show, Michael Rado and James Earl Corley said that on such occasions, the placements are determined by performances on the previous leg.
However, in the first four seasons of the reality series, teams were allowed to be tied on the mat. It’s thus possible that this rule was implemented at the start of The Amazing Race 5.
4 Equipment Cannot Be Changed In The Middle Of A Task
In any task that requires the teams to have equipment or props, the contestants are not allowed to change them before the task is over. Logically, this also helps in saving time. Members of a specific team are also not allowed to touch or interfere with another team’s equipment, including their belongings.
They can’t even remove another team’s belongings from a taxi. Only the taxi driver is allowed to do this. During instances when the contestants are driving a car and it breaks down, they are given a replacement. However, they won’t be compensated for any time lost as a result of unforeseen circumstances.
3 What Happens When A Team Fails To Complete A Challenge Properly?
Teams are required to complete each specific challenge as outlined by the clues they are provided with. In case a team violates a provision or misses a clue, they can go back to the spot where they found a challenge and complete it properly. Alternatively, they can decide to incur a penalty when they arrive at the Pit Stop.
There are a few instances where violations are allowed. This includes moments when the team has won the Fast Forward or when the team is using the Express Pass.
2 Contestants Can’t Move While Reading A Clue
One might wonder why the contestants don’t keep moving while reading a clue in order to save on the precious commodity that is time. That would be cool but it isn’t allowed to happen.
The contestants are instructed to stand still while reading each clue. The first reason for this is so that the camera can capture what is in the clue so that viewers can see too. This would be impossible if a camera is moving. The second reason is so that the contestants can mentally prepare themselves for the task or catch a break.
1 Release Forms
The contestants often find themselves needing to talk to the locals from time to time whenever they are in a foreign country or remote region. They do this mostly when needing assistance with directions, borrowing an item or money, or seeking to find a way to make money.
Whenever this happens, the contestants have to make them sign a release form. The purpose of the form is for the locals to legally consent to the use of footage involving them in the show.