For travelers, Rural Couchsurfing is a ticket to places rarely mentioned in guidebooks. For hosts, it's an opportunity to be connected to the world, no matter how remote their home is. For positive hosting and surfing in rural areas, check out the tips below.
Tips for hosts
Join the network of Rural Couchsurfing hosts. The first step is to place your home on the global map of rural couches. Then, join the Rural Couchsurfing group, as well as the subgroup of to the country you are in. You may also want to add a Rural CS icon to your profile.
Be proactive in contacting travelers. Use your country's subgroup or the group of the city that is closest to where you to invite travelers to come and stay with you, or send a direct message to the Couchsurfers traveling near you. Nearby travelers are shown both on the right side of your homepage and on CouchSearch (where you have the option of searching with filters).
Communicate prior to hosting. Because your needs and expectations as a host may be different from those of your potential surfer, it's a good idea to communicate clearly beforehand. Make sure to give them a detailed couch description (including house rules), and don't be afraid to ask questions and/or make requests.
Provide an alternative form of contact. After accepting a CouchRequest, consider exchanging phone numbers, especially if the Internet where you live is unreliable or nonexistent. Encourage your Couchsurfer to call you to confirm their date and time of arrival.
Set up a solid meeting place. If your house is hard to get to, consider arranging to pick your Couchsurfer up at a place that is easier for them to find. Confirm meeting details the previous day, if possible, by phone.
Get them involved in your day-to-day activities. Chances are, your guest picked your couch because they're interested in and curious about your lifestyle. Teach and share whatever you can with them.
Tips for surfers
Use the Rural CS map to search for a place to stay. The Rural Couchsurfing map is the easiest way to locate potential hosts worldwide. If where you’re going doesn’t have any couches on the map, you can use the regular CouchSearch feature to find rural couches by using the “search by map” option and moving the map to the area you’d like to visit.
Send your CouchRequest in advance. A rural host may not have easy internet access, so allow plenty of time for them to reply to your CouchRequest.
Provide an alternative form of contact. Exchanging phone numbers may be useful in places where the internet is unreliable or nonexistent.
Get to know your hosts (and their couch) beforehand. You are likely to spend more time with your host in a rural area than you would in an urban setting. In rural areas, it is also harder to find a backup host if things don't work out. For these reasons, it's important that you and your host communicate about needs and expectations before your arrival. Don't be afraid to ask questions.
Avoid canceling last minute. Because the public transport to your host's place may be infrequent or nonexistent, they may be willing to pick you up. If you make this type of arrangement, avoid canceling last minute and always let your host know if anything changes. Often, the best thing to do is to call the host the day before to confirm your time of arrival.
Before you arrive, find out if you need to bring food with you. Depending on how rural your host's home is, there may not be restaurants or markets nearby. You may need to buy your groceries in advance and bring them with you. Even if your host offers to let you eat with them, you should plan to contribute as well.
Help out at home. In addition to exploring the area and enjoying nature, find out how you can help around the house or if you can join in on the day-to-day activities.