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Inside The Amazing Race


Planning and More Planning
Teammates Susan and Patrick and Gretchen and Meredith navigate their way through the airport in Arequipa, Peru
Teammates Susan and Patrick and Gretchen and Meredith navigate their way through the airport in Arequipa, Peru
Photo courtesy

Not surprisingly, van Munster knows quite a lot about getting from one place to the next. "People in my office are sometimes shocked by the amount of airline schedules I have in my head. I can tell you where Air Nepal is flying at 1:00 in the afternoon. I can tell you how many flights Air Botswana has between Gabarone and Johannesburg," says the Dutch-born producer, though unforeseen travel roadblocks inevitably arise.

"Every time we get on a plane and we go to an airport, it's like rolling the dice," says Race host Phil Keoghan. "Is there going to be a mechanical on the plane? Are there going to be weather delays? We've been sitting on planes with the weather closing in and a team might be on another plane that got out before the weather closed in. Now we're sitting on the ground and we know the teams are racing ahead of us. It gets really challenging. I've literally Raced teams to the pit stop. One time I was literally running up to the mat while they were running from the other direction."

Then there's the totally unforeseen obstacle that can force the production to change locations. "In Argentina, about two years ago, we had a situation where the entire banking system collapsed. I was about to wire a substantial amount of money there because we were going to shoot there. We changed the itinerary from Brazil-Argentina-South Africa to Brazil-London-South Africa," remembers van Munster. "We had a situation in Rio where the paparazzi found out where we were going to be shooting and we switched samba bars."