Is living in a Skoolie worth it? 

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Is living in a Skoolie worth it? We will discuss the pros and cons of living in a Skoolie. We will also review the costs of living in a converted school bus and help you decide which one would suit your lifestyle best. 

Is living in a Skoolie worth it?

Living in a Skoolie can be totally worth it or a completely bad decision, depending on what your main goal is. If you want space and more of a permanent home, the converted bus is a good option. 

For travelling, however, Skoolies are best when your trips are short and you stick to easy trails. Otherwise, for longer trips across the country, you may want to consider a different type of RV. You don’t go off the beaten track in a Skoolie but it’s a solid vehicle and a great option for building your new home!

Living in a Skoolie: the pros & cons

Advantages of living in a SkoolieDisadvantages of living in a Skoolie
A Skoolie has all the benefits of a Class C RV minus the drawbacks of infiltration and quality. Converting a Skoolie is a lot of physical work! Considering that you have to gut the bus first, it can take you anywhere from a few months to a few years to finally hit the road with your Skoolie. 

If you take your time and do your research, it is cheaper to buy and convert a Skoolie than to invest in another type of RV. Despite the research and the many questions asked on Facebook groups, it’s hard to predict everything. There is a good chance that despite all the work, some parts will perform less well than expected once on the road.
There is a lot of space! You can almost have a bowling alley in your house if you really wanted to. The options are endless.
Your whole family can travel with you. Perfect if you want to have 8 children and still want to live life on the road!
You will struggle to cover long distances over rough terrain.  If you are planning to take a trip from Chile to Alaska, this might not be the best choice of vehicle.
It is easier to find a mechanic for your school bus than one for your RV. And chances are, bus parts are easier to find as well. Fuel can be expensive and depending on the model it can be more difficult to work with and find parts.
Skoolies are strong and built to last. They are also more robust and safe in a crash than most RVs currently on the market.Some RV parks do not allow Skoolies. And on the same subject, parking and manoeuvring your Skoolie can be much more difficult. 

Is living in a Skoolie full-time legal?

In the US you can live in a converted bus only if you have registered your converted bus as an RV. This means, that you will have to homologate the vehicle, and also make sure you respect certain rules:

  • There must be a septic tank or access to city sewage on the private land;
  • You cannot have 110-120V electrical cables;
  • Depending on the converted bus size, there is a limitation on how many people can reside in the same vehicle.

Our recommendation is you buy a piece of land in the country if you want to live full time in a Skoolie. If the land is not considered a residential area or part of a suburb, you are entitled to live freely on it.

You can park a school bus:

  • On free public lands;
  • At Walmart;
  • Casinos.
  • In front of a friend’s house.
  • BLM Land and National Parks.
  • Rest stops.
  • Campgrounds and RV parks.

However, you cannot live full-time in your Skoolie in the above-mentioned places. Most of them allow a short stay and in some places, you will have to pay a fee for it. 

How to choose a  Skoolie for a full-time living?

Full-time living in a Skoolie sounds like a good deal for many. However, if you want to live comfortably and still enjoy your DIY project, there are some key factors to consider.

  1. Figuring out the length of your Skoolie is going to be your first step to finding a school bus because that’s gonna give you the frame and chassis size you’re looking for. 

Do you see yourself travelling around from place to place going from point A to point B, doing 30 or 40 thousand miles a year? Or do you see yourself living more of a camper lifestyle where you’re going from campground to campground maybe only moving your location once or twice a year? 

A larger bus can give you more room and space, but it will also be more difficult to manoeuvre. So keep that in mind. 

  1. After choosing the size of your Skoolie, the next key point that you want to look at is going to be the engine and drivetrain. There are many engines, transmissions, and differential options out there and it’s not as hard as you think to find the right one for you.  
  1. You must choose between a semi-built Skoolie or a gutted Skoolie. You can also find lots of buses with AC, diesel heater, block heaters and cruise control – it is just a matter of where the bus was manufactured and what was the purpose of that bus. 
  1. A very important aspect is the overall condition of the bus. You must carefully look at the metal and the underbody, the roof, the windows and the doors. The number-one rule in the bus community is: a rusty bus is always going to be a rusty bus. 

Of course, surface rust is something you can deal with easily, but if you’re able to flake rust off or put your finger through the metal  – that is a clear sign that you don’t want that bus!

  1. On top of that, looking at the condition of the bus, you also want to look at the tires. This is such an important step because a new set of tires for your Skoolie can cost you anywhere from fifteen hundred to three thousand dollars for a six set. Skoolie tires are expensive, so if you can buy a bus with halflife tires or even full tread tires you’re saving yourself that money right from the start!

The bottom line

In the end, the most important thing is to know your needs and your preferences. There is no perfect choice! Your lifestyle has a big impact and sometimes it is worth trying before you make a final choice. If this is your first experience, be aware that it is possible to rent an RV by the week to assess for yourself what you consider to be an advantage or a disadvantage.

Do you want to share your thoughts and comments about Skoolie life? Let us know!

FAQ on Is living in a Skoolie worth it?

Can I live in a bus on my own land?

In the US you can live in a bus on your own land only if you have registered your converted bus as an RV. This means that you will have to homologate the vehicle, and also make sure you respect certain rules.

What size Skoolie do I need?

The Skoolie size you are going to feel most comfortable in will highly depend on your personal preferences. How many people are going to live in it? What type of amenities do you want to add (kitchen, bathroom, beds, etc)? How tall are you? How are you going to use the Skoolie? As you can see, there are many factors to take into consideration. 

What school bus has the most headroom?

The school bus with the most headroom currently on the market is made by GreenPower Motor Co. and offers 78 inches of interior space. The school bus with the least headroom is only 66 inches tall.

Are Skoolies safe?

Compared to other RVs and vehicles, yes, Skoolies are safe on the road. The school bus is a heavy vehicle with superior construction. Its robust construction, it’s simple and accessible mechanics make it a very reliable vehicle. An abundance of used parts, at affordable prices, is available to bus owners. 

Are Skoolies worth it?

For many people, Skoolies are totally worth it. A Skoolie offers a way to always be on the go without sacrificing the comforts that a home offers. School buses are also a blank canvas – once the seats are removed the possibilities are endless. The design will depend on the number of people that will be accommodated on the bus, as well as their lifestyle and needs.

Is a Skoolie considered an RV?

Yes, A Skoolie is considered an RV. They have become popular recently and are nothing more than converted school buses. They are spacious and offer plenty of room to decorate and furnish as you may please. 


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