As long as there have been flower power and old-school hippies in the United States, the skoolie has been a roadside classic icon. However, life in a school bus has advanced into the twenty-first century. Living in a bus has evolved from their days as temporary dwellings with a brightly painted outside to luxury residences that would make anybody envious. The idea of bus life especially a school bus is quite appealing, but there are some challenges.
The benefits and drawbacks of a skoolie life will be discussed today in order to assist you to make an informed decision if you’re considering this lifestyle.
We’ll also take a look at some of my favorite converted Skoolies.
Before we get into all pros and cons kinds of things for a skoolie let me give you some background for skoolie life.
Featured image credit – @scoutandaboutskoolie
What is a skoolie?
Camping and RVing are regaining popularity as the epidemic drives individuals to choose more socially distant modes of travel. But when you hit the road, you may notice a new species of home-on-wheels roaming along the interstate or pulling into the campsite space next to yours. With a fresh coat of paint and some beautiful new decorations, it’ll appear familiar, giving a spark of remembrance from childhood. As a result, you’ll be recalled of ripped vinyl seats coated with scribbles, chattering with buddies beside you, and windows that are tricky to pull down because they are stuck in their frame. For the majority of your childhood, you probably got to ride in one of them twice a day.
A school bus, that’s what it is. However, it is no longer used to transport children to and from school, as it was in the past. Hopefully in the future will do. It is now a home for everyone from young couples to entire families on trips, with living quarters, kitchens, baths, and beds that enable people to live lives behind the wheel. Also, it’s got a new nickname: Skoolie.
The Skoolie: Why Would Anyone Want To Live There?
Many people are seeking ways to live a more nomadic lifestyle without giving up all of the comforts of home, and skoolies are becoming a popular option because of the DIY, minimalism, and tiny living trends of the last few years. They’re also being influenced by social media and a growing awareness of how our consumption-based lives harm the environment. Many individuals don’t want to live in such a small, confined area; skoolies are considerably longer, wider, spacious, and yet provide for the freedom to explore this planet. Living in a bus is a dream for people who wants all the facilities of a house with wheels.
Let’s break it into some points to understand it better.
- Take Your Home With You When You Travel.
If you have never considered living on an old school bus, it may sound strange to you. But for many individuals, this is a dream come true. One of the major advantages of living in a Skoolie is that you may travel and yet have your house with you. This is true of any RV. Having the opportunity to travel and see wonderful places is an amazing experience. If you can do it in the comfort of your own home, it will be much more special.
- Better Than A Van.
You can go with any kind of RV, but in a school bus, you have a lot more room to spread out and get comfortable. Several tiny dwellings may fit in a bus’s cargo area, which is enormous.
There is also the option to divide the inside into different rooms, allowing you and your traveling companions a bit more space. There’s no need to sacrifice any of the pleasures of everyday necessities that you’d have in a house because a school bus has plenty of room.
If you like, you may have a full-sized kitchen with an oven and large sink, as well as a refrigerator and freezer. There’s also the option of a separate bathroom and amenities like a large TV or wood-burning furnace if desired. Some Vanlifers installed a washing machine and a dryer. Isn’t that amazing? Though, you need to figure out electricity and water storage.
- Owning a home
One-third of skoolie residents don’t plan to travel in their homes. It is possible to buy your own home while living in a bus full-time if you have a nice parking place available.
With home prices rising, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to climb on the housing ladder, therefore living in a bus is a wonderful option.
An investment as large as the one required to purchase and convert a bus may be made, but the amount required is considerably less than the one required to put down on a house deposit. Skoolies are ideal as permanent homes, but they may also be used as an intermediate stage before buying your first brick home.
Another popular reason for opting for a skoolie is if you want to travel with children. The additional space provides for more beds, as well as better privacy for the parents. Children are a big reason why so many couples who had previously traveled in a smaller vehicle opt for a skoolie.
- Pre-installed security system.
Old school buses have remarkable semi-automatic or fully automatic security systems that are already installed. A skoolie, is, therefore, a more attractive alternative because the security system for children is already in place and you don’t have to pay extra for it. Many individuals opt to acquire a secondhand school bus and turn it into a safe, comfortable home for this very reason.
Some of the Skoolie Life's Drawbacks.
When it comes to skoolie living, there are certain potential limitations. A few obstacles are part of every alternative lifestyle. They don’t have to be burdensome, but there are things that you may have to work with when living in a bus.
- Difficulty with Driving and Parking a bus.
If you’re going to travel in your skoolie, you’ll need to be able to drive it alone. Adapting to driving a bus, which is significantly larger than a typical car, will take some getting used to. However, certain roads may be so narrow or in bad enough shape that they are impassable if you have a large vehicle like a school bus and it cannot be resized.
Parking can also be a problem since most parking lots and campgrounds are not designed to handle school buses. There is no point in missing out on places because your vehicle isn’t up to the task. This is especially the case if you intend to take your skoolie with you outside the country.
- The need for a different driving license
Legally, driving a school bus requires a separate driver’s permit. As a result, before purchasing a bus, you’ll need to find the time to learn a thing or two and pay for a certification. It’s not a big problem, but it’s something you should consider when you start looking for a bus. Nobody wants to buy the dream bus and then not be able to bring it back home.
- Professionalized Maintenance
Converting an old school bus into a tiny house won’t cost you anything much comparatively, as these buses have been there for years. It’s usually for a good cause that they’re being sold on. But you always want to make sure that your bus is mechanically and structurally sound before heading on a road trip or even before beginning your conversion project. Spending money on a bus’s interior is a waste if it breaks down on your first trip.
Maintenance of a skoolie may be expensive. Aside from the fact that they are vintage vehicles, they also need to be serviced by a qualified technician and this can cost you some extra. But this, in my opinion, is the most crucial step to be taken care of before you buy an old school bus to convert it into a beautiful home.
- A gas guzzler
A skoolie isn’t quite eco-friendly because it’s an older bus. Solar electricity for the inside is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, but the bus is still a gas-guzzler. As a result, you’ll find yourself stopping at the gas station more often than you’re used to, which is terrible news for your wallet. Hence, your monthly expenses for living in a bus would climb significantly.
- Costs More Than A Camper
In spite of the fact that acquiring a used school bus is not more expensive than purchasing a sprinter van in its basic form, but converting one is. More room implies more resources are needed to construct the structure, and more materials imply more money. However, even if you do it yourself, most conversions would set you back tens of thousands of dollars, and some may even exceed forty-fifty thousand.
On top of the cost of construction, larger RVs require more maintenance and repair expertise than their smaller counterparts.
Favorite top 3 skoolie conversions
When it comes to skoolie living, there are many factors to consider, but one thing is certain: they create lovely houses. As an example, here are three of my favorite skoolie conversions that have gotten me fantasizing about living in a bus.
@Happyhomebodies. – Nicholas and Francesca
On wheels, this school bus has been transformed into a stunning small home. On its own, this house is completely self-sufficient in terms of power as well as water, and it’s attractive, functional, and ready to go anywhere.
As soon as you step inside, you’ll see that this house is anything but a bus. To give it the appearance of a beautiful home, each and every corner has been meticulously planned. The dashboard has been transformed into a comfy couch. In order for this couple, it was vital that their school bus conversion feels like a home, complete with all the contemporary conveniences, and they have both put in a lot of effort to make sure the skoolie works as well as it looks. This is what living in a bus should look like.
Credit – @Happyhomebodies.
@sincewewokeup – Tawny and Mike
This adorable restored skoolie features a beautiful bathtub, rooftop deck, and sleeping room for four adults! Tawny and Mike chose to move from a five-bedroom home to a 40-foot skoolie after deciding to downsize. Living in a bus becomes a great choice of their life.
Mike and Tawny allocated a large amount of space to their bathroom when it came to the interior design. Cedar planks line the floor, which is covered in a feather concrete finish, and the space has a feather concrete ceiling. Moisture is able to permeate across the entire area and create a wet bath sensation. An attached faucet on the copper showerhead allows them to fill their soaking tub. As a moisture control measure, they left the bus windows open in the bathroom, allowing them to take a bath with a view! Isn’t that a dream come true?
@thebougiebus – Skoolie Life with Kids
The Bougie Bus is here to welcome you! Check out this young family’s new Tiny House – a converted school bus that they refurbished themselves! This is a beautiful home that was built by hand, and it was created with their two children in mind. They have this unique layout for the kitchen and living room. How they have arranged plumbing stuff and solar stuff is very thoughtful and very easy to maintain if anything needs repairs.
Credit – Tiny House Giant Journey – Adorable family shows off their school bus tiny home
Personal views on Skoolie life.
Perhaps this post has given you some ideas on what you should think about before buying your own bus. When combined with a small plot of land, I believe that school bus conversions make ideal starter houses. To conclude, skoolies are the greatest alternative, in my opinion, if you want to live in a van while still having access to all of the amenities of an apartment. Undoubtedly there are few negative aspects, but we can always work over them and enjoy what living in a bus has to offer.
Comment below what’s your take on skoolie life or life on wheels in general.