After watching an episode of the latest season of The Amazing Race, I decided to do a little research on this. Exactly how is TAR made?
Once the contestants are informed, they will be required to apply for visas to a number of countries. However, to keep things mysterious they will apply for visas to more countries than the ones they will visit. This way they won't know for sure which country will they visit, and which will they not.
At the beginning of the race, you see that they will depart 12 hours from their arrival time. So say if they arrive at a pit stop at 8pm they will depart at 8am. However, sometimes, due to unforeseen circumstances, it will be a 36 hour break, so on TV it still looks like 12.
Pit stop extensions happen for a variety of production-related reasons: extremely bad weather, problems setting up the next leg, Phil being sick, a team lagging several hours behind the rest of the production, and so forth.
Then, sometimes they would head into a designated car. I've always wondered wouldn't it be easier for them to communicate if they sat side by side instead of front and back? Well here's the reason:
Every team is accompanied by a two-man production crew composed of a cameraman and a sound techie. In vehicles, the cameraman always rides "shotgun," and the sound tech sits behind the cameraman. So if they're in a car, the second teammate sits behind the driving teammate. And in a taxi, both teammates are squashed together behind the taxi driver (the better to get both teammates in one shot!).
In addition to these two-man crews, there are also extra camera crews set up at the locations of the race tasks.
But you almost never see these crews on the show, thanks to their own skill, as well as the work of the Amazing Editors.
Oh and in the airports they would head to a counter and ask for 2 tickets. But in actual fact, that scene was reenacted. Teams actually have to buy FOUR tickets- 2 for themselves, and 2 for the production crew. Sometimes they get to fly together with Phil. And during flights if a team is delayed by the crew they will be given time credit.
As for the pit stops, I read that all the clues and pit stops are only placed when the production crew are told of a team's arrival. Once a team had to redo their checking in scene because when they had arrived at the pit stop the team had not.
Cool, eh? You should read this and this.