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Edward Hasbrouck on "The Amazing Race 4"

Episode 4: Thursday, 19 June 2003

Gmunden (Austria) - Paris (France) - Le Mans (France)- Marseilles (France) - Gorges du Blavet (France) - St.-Rémy-de-Provence (France)

Getting in Shape to Travel

It wasn't clear what delayed Josh and Steve on the drive through southern France that led to the to their elimination at the end of this week's episode of The Amazing Race. Nor was it clear why Marseilles was chosen as the first city other than Paris to be visited in two different seasons of The Amazing Race.

What was clear -- for the racers as for many real travellers -- was how ill-prepared the teams were, on the whole, for challenges that, by this fourth season of the race, they ought to have known they would face at some point in the race.

If you were in a race for a million dollar prize, with only a dozen pairs of contestants, wouldn't you spend a few weeks, and a couple of thousand dollars, in serious training?

Likewise real travellers, on a smaller scale: it's possible to predict, and prepare for, many of the things that are otherwise likely to be most difficult on an international journey on your own.

Now that the panic over war, terrorism, and SARS is abating, many people are eager to set off on international trips they've wanted to take, but have been postponing for many months. That pent-up desire to travel is leading people to spend less time preparing, in order to hit the road or the airport as soon as possible.

But no matter how soon you are leaving, and even if you aren't in training for a race, it's never too late for your journey to benefit from a little preparation.

My advice for regular travellers preparing for independent international travellers forms the core of "The Practical Nomad: How to Travel Around the World".

But if someone in training for the next season of "The Amazing Race" were to hire me as team coach or training consultant, here are some of the things (other than dealing with airlines, schedules, routes, and travel agencies) that I would recommend as preparation:

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