The Advantages and Disadvantages to Buying a Bus
In 2009, we bought our first school bus and converted it into our tiny house on wheels. We lived in it full-time while we traveled the United States. You can tour our first bus here.
Then in 2011, we sold our bus and bought a travel trailer with a slide out. We remodeled it to fit our large family and started traveling again. This time we didn’t travel for long before one of our children started having some problems. We returned home and sold our travel trailer. Why you might ask? Well, it wasn’t because we thought we would not ever travel again! The reason we sold it was because the travel trailer didn’t compare to the bus. The bus felt like home. It was made to suit us!
Here are the advantages and disadvantages that we found to buying a bus.
1. Our bus had more living space for less money than our travel trailer.
When Jeff had the idea of buying a bus, I wasn’t crazy about it to say the least! So, I searched for a motorhome or travel trailer to fit our large family. Let me tell you, to find one that I didn’t have to break down a table or extend a couch for someone to sleep on was way out of our budget. I am talking like $100,000 out of our budget.
Our first bus costs a total of around $5,500 and fit all of us comfortably.
2. Our bus had more storage space.
When Jeff designed our first bus, he made sure we had adequate storage for all our clothes, Katie’s supplies, all of our homeschool books/materials and a fully stocked kitchen. We had enough storage that I didn’t have to go to the store for dry goods for 2 weeks. We even had a laundry shoot!
Not only did we have plenty of storage space, the storage space was located where we needed it. Jeff was able to customize the bus to fit our needs. With 7 children and 2 adults living in a small space, having more customize-able storage space was a huge advantage.
3. Buses are Safer than motor homes.
Jeff and I both felt that a bus was much safer for us as we traveled across the US. You know, they are designed to transport kids to and from school safely.
Buses are built strong and sturdy. Tank like!
4. It is easier to find someone to work on a bus.
If you are traveling in a bus and you have a mechanical issue, you don’t have to find a local RV repair person. You can pull into any truck stop and most of the time the diesel mechanic on duty can fix the problem and you will be on your way.
Also, we have found that local school bus maintenance shops are willing to give a hand along with advice.
5. Buses are customize-able
Yes, this advantage is a no-brainier! For us, this is the best advantage! As a family with a special needs child, we needed the ability to make Katie her own space that would be able to contain her medical equipment within easy access.
It is important to me that we have an organized bus because I don’t like tripping on things or wasting time looking for something. When Jeff, built our first bus, as well as, our second bus he put the walls, outlets, and cabinets exactly where I needed them in-order-to optimize the space efficiently. You can see how he does this in these videos.
1. Our First Bus lacked some comforts.
Our first bus didn’t have a master bedroom, shower on the inside, or stove. Jeff and I slept on the couches up front. These will not be a disadvantages on our second bus. Our second bus will have full bathroom in the master bedroom, full kitchen and all the advantages as before.
Our travel trailer cost us $9,000 and the kids had to share an area. Jeff and I did have a master bedroom. It had a full kitchen and bathroom with a slide-out. ( Some may see this point as an advantage.) We didn’t because our kids were ages 3-15 boys and girls. They needed a girls area and a boys area. The travel trailer didn’t give them the extra room they needed. So, we spent more money for less living area.
2. Some RV Parks will not allow Skoolies.
When making reservations for an RV Park, we have been told that they didn’t allow Skoolies. We didn’t find this to be a problem in National Parks or State Parks. If you are considering staying in RV parks more than national parks or state parks, you might not want to make a Skoolie your RV.
Helpful hint: When a RV park welcomes you, please be a good representation of the Skoolie community. This way the owners are more willing to continue to allow Skoolies in the future.
We found a great RV Park in Texas that was more than willing for us to stay. Here is the link if you are in TX and want to stay in an RV Park.
Here is the direct link to Silver Wind RV Park if you are interested in checking them out.
3. A Bus ceiling height is shorter than a motor home.
In most buses the inside ceiling height is between 72-76 inches. This would pose a problem if you are taller than 6 feet. I have seen some people on Skoolie.net raise the roof on their bus.
The only problem we have encountered with this disadvantage is that I wanted a stackable washer and dryer and the one I chose was too tall.
Would these disadvantages stop you from buying a bus to convert into a RV?Click To Tweet
As you can see, we think buying a school bus and converting it into a RV/home has more advantages than disadvantages.
What do you think? Do you agree with us? Tell us in the comments. Let us know what you think are some advantages and disadvantages to a bus verses a motor home or travel trailer.
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