The Amazing Race: are cell phones banned?

And how about PDAs with wireless web access?

In the past we’ve seen couples use cellphones to figure out plane connections and make reservations. And you could definitely get an advantage using a PDA to access Expedia or the like. Not to mention downloading maps for the cities you go to, or even one of those travel planning sites that would work out the best route for you.

I’m guessing that the producers have banned the use of both cellphones and PDA exactly BECAUSE they’d be so useful, and it’s the mistakes and getting lost and frantic conflicts at airports that provide much of the drama in the show.

Does anyone know if this is true?

I assume it has to be true, because these devices would be so useful. We’ve seen contestants borrow cell phones from cab drivers, so their use isn’t completely banned. But it seems that the contestants are not allowed to bring their own.

What company sells cell phones that are usable across the globe? Wouldn’t you need a satellite phone, not a cell phone? Those are massively expensive, aren’t they?

I’m sure that a list of banned items is available … somewhere. CBS doesn’t have on on their website, and I don’t have time to slog through the threads at TWoP to find one.

Many companies now sell GSM phones that work everywhere but Japan. I know many people who have them. The signal is carried on whatever network the local cel phones use. Because your cel provider is renting the network access from another company, the roaming charge will vary widely. The ones I’m familiar with go as high as $5 a minute for China and Russia. But it’s a regular old cel phone, with your 212 or 310 area code number still working.

And yeah, there’s got to be some sort of cel-tower infrastructure nearby, so they won’t work in the middle of a desert or an ocean.

I found this:

I believe the real issue is the fact that GPS systems, cell phones, maps, etc. are not allowed as items brought by competitors at the beginning of the race - period. That whole “unfair advantage” thing. IIRC, in a previous race, each team was allowed to call one family member/friend on a cell phone and talk - since there had been no communication with home in weeks.

I don’t think it’s an issue of spending money. They can spend money to buy a map of the area (I think), since that’s an option for each team.