How do we decide where to go and holiday homes...Most frequently asked suggestions......

After returning from Kruger on a Sunday we headed to Amaazing River View, Serene Oasis, to watch the sunset and wildlife on the Crocodile River. This waterbuck was busily grazing on the vegetation as we captured his reflection in the river.
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Today's photos are from June 12, 2018, while in Marloth Park, South Africa. See the link here for more.

As we reviewed the plethora of comments when we requested input from our readers at this "Foraging for fodder" post" the most common responses we received were, "How do we decide on where we'll travel next and how do we find holiday homes in those locations?"

Over the years we've posted snippets in various posts as to the resources we've used to find holiday homes once we've decided on a location.  Let's start with "deciding on a location."
This elephant with only one tusk was standing at the Verhami Dam in Kruger leisurely tossing dirt over herself. 
Please bear in mind, these responses are based on normal times, not times of Covid-19 when everything is different, especially in regard to where we'll go when that decision won't be entirely up to us. 

Instead, it will be predicated entirely as to which countries will be opening their borders to both US citizens and those coming from India, a double whammy for us since immigration at airports won't take the time or effort to review our itinerary over the past several months. 

If US citizens are banned, we won't be allowed entry. If those coming from India are banned, we won't be allowed entry. That is why we anticipate it being a long time until we can travel to another country.
It was fascinating watching her from our close vantage point.
In normal times, we chose a country based on the following factors in order of preference:

1. Which areas/countries have we yet to visit that piques our interest?
2. When and where will our next cruise sail that a particular country will provide us with the best proximity without us having to fly long distances, if possible?
3. What is the cost of living in a particular country, allowing a one or two-month stay or longer, befitting our budget and expectations? What is the cost of potential holiday homes?
4. Where are we most likely to attain a high degree of pleasure as a result of excellent views, wildlife, or unique and interesting nearby areas to visit?
5. Can we rent a holiday home in a less busy area, away from a big city?
6. Is the location safe based on crime rates, current political unrest, or potential civil unrest?
7. Which properties include the features most important to us such as location, cleanliness, and appeal, including WiFi, air-con, full kitchen with oven, comfortable seating areas and bedroom, dining table, towels, bedding, and utilities included, proximity to grocery shopping, a convenient parking area, and a cleaner either provided by the property owner or one which we can pay?
She devoured some vegetation while we waited patiently for her next move.
As we peruse various holiday/vacation home websites, we search for the above criteria to discover what ultimately will serve us best. There are numerous websites online, many owned by Expedia, which include: 
1. HomeAway
2. Vacation Home Rentals
3. VRBO
4. Stayz 
There are numerous holiday rental sites online. To search, type in; holiday rentals, and the name of the country you'd like to visit. You'll find dozens of sites. Please be cautious with smaller sites and with each individual listing. 

Many listings may be scams. It's imperative to read reviews and if possible, speak to the owner before booking and ask for references. Ask as many leading questions as possible. Proceed with caution if it's a new listing with no reviews.
Suddenly, she lifted the end of her trunk and scratched her right eye.
Many ask us if we use Airbnb. We do not. We've found their payment policy of requiring full payment at the time of booking along with many poor reviews a deterrent. Also, many of their listings are unsuitable for our needs, including "shared," rental, hostels, and various forms of group housing which doesn't meet our objectives.

Sites such as booking.com and hotels.com and TripAdvisor.com offer numerous quality listings. Look for guarantees offered by the providers.

Also, keep in mind that property managers, such as our dear friend Louise in Marloth Park, have their own site with several listings as indicated here. In this case, we can confidently provide her link, but again, if the manager is unknown to you, proceed with caution.

What are the risks of encountering a scam holiday home listing?
1. The property address doesn't exist when you arrive
2. The photos are not as represented in the listing
3. The property belongs to someone other than whom you placed the booking and paid the funds
4. The property is in poor condition, hidden in photos listed

Urgent Note: Do not use a bank transfer of funds coming directly from your bank account unless you know the party personally, or someone who can attest to their integrity and reliability. Verify cancellation policies.
Over a period of several minutes, she reached up, scratching her eye again.
If a credit card is used for payment, you'll have recourse if you run into difficulties. If you do a direct bank transfer, YOU'LL HAVE NO RECOURSE to recover your funds. 

Most reliable holiday home sites have a money processing app that handles the payment via a credit card. Check online for reviews on these services. For example, we'll use such sites as PayPal and Google Pay without hesitation. Plus, such sites as HomeAway have their own reliable payment processing feature. But still, in doing so, it could be a scam which some arbitrary company has set it up with fraudulent intentions.
Back at the house, Tom's favorite, Ms. Bushbuck, and her friend were to his right while my favorite, Ms. Kudu was standing to his left.
Of course, with Covid-19, all of this may be different going forward. As we continue to book locations in the future, we'll certainly keep you updated on the situations we encounter along the way.

We hope today's information has provided you with answers to some of your questions. If we've missed anything, please don't hesitate to inquire further.

Have a pleasant day.
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Photo from one year ago today, June 12, 2019:
We stopped at the Glinsce pier to check out the boats in Connemara, Ireland. For more photos, please click here.

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