Living in a converted school bus, or skoolie, has a certain charm to it that draws people to the idea. This is particularly true for those who want to own their own home but don’t have enough put away to achieve that, or those who are tired of living in a big house and want to downsize so they can focus on what really matters.
Whatever your reasons for wanting to live in a skoolie, you need to remember that this option brings certain benefits and drawbacks. So before you go looking for a skoolie conversion for sale, or for a school bus you can convert yourself, here’s what you need to know.
The first benefit to living in a skoolie with a working engine is that you can travel without having to worry about where to stay the night. You also don’t have to fuss over details like being able to work while on the road, how you’re going to keep up with housekeeping, and so on.
The second benefit is that a skoolie gives you more space than a van or even an RV, because most school buses have enough space to match many small apartments in size. If you plan your layout and floor plan properly, you can even split the interior into separate rooms for some privacy now and then. You won’t have to skip day-to-day essentials and little luxuries you would have in any other house, either.
The third and possibly the most important benefit is being able to own a home. Buying and then converting a bus does cost a significant amount, but usually not as much as you’d need to make a deposit on a house. Even if you don’t plan to travel in your skoolie, you’ll still have a place you can call home. You just have to look for a permanent parking spot you can use without breaking any laws.
Any alternate option to a home brings with it a few obstacles, but they don’t have to dissuade you from choosing that option. Instead, they can be things you need to prepare for and work with. Living in a skoolie is no exception.
The first downside is that you’ll need to get a different driving license in order to drive your skoolie legally. Unless you already have one, you’ll need to set aside time to take lessons and then take a test before you purchase that bus you plan to convert. After all, you don’t want to find just the right bus for your project but then have no way to drive it home yourself.
- Restrictions and Limits
Speaking of driving, the second downside is that driving a skoolie can be difficult, mostly because it’s much bigger than your average car. This means you may be restricted to traveling only on certain roads. You’ll also have to remember to scout ahead for parking space; even campgrounds aren’t built to accommodate school buses.
- Maintenance and Upkeep Costs
A third downside is the cost of upkeep. You’re not working with a new school bus, but one that’s been around for years. Even if many parts still work, not only will you have to make sure it’s mechanically sound, but you’ll also need a specialist for any repair work that’s needed, and that could end up being costly.
These are just a few of the things you need to consider before buying and converting a school bus, but they’re the most important. Whether you go through with your plan depends entirely on whether the pros outweigh the cons for you.