At its core, "The Amazing Race" is television's greatest vacation: for the past 18 years, contestants have bonded with each other on a breathtaking, eye-opening trek to countries all around the world. 

Over the course of the show's rigorous three-week filming schedule, competitors, participating in teams of two, get a crash course in flying from country to country, communicating with locals and taking in exciting new cultures. So as summer travel plans roll in, those who have experienced the race firsthand share insights about how to best execute a visit to a new place, whether you're driving to a nearby state or flying halfway across the country.

USA TODAY caught up with "Amazing Race" host Phil Keoghan, co-creator Bertram van Munster and contestant and YouTuber Tyler Oakley (who will compete for $1 million in the season 31 finale Wednesday night) for their best summer travel do's and don'ts. 

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