Converted Yellow School Bus. Bus conversion into a tiny vacation home on wheels. 2 Cool 4 Skool Bus, the Skoolie.
NORTH AMERICA, SCHOOL BUS, TRAVEL TIPS

CONVERTED BUS – OUR YELLOW SCHOOL BUS TURNED VACATION HOME ON WHEELS

Last year when we decided to convert a yellow school bus into a tiny vacation home on wheels, better known as a Skoolie, we never could have imagined that it would soon become the best way to travel. No one could have anticipated a full blown international travel ban and a pandemic, but here we are in 2020. Everyone wants to travel, but most people have never stayed in an RV or planned a road trip, so they’re skeptical. Until just a year and a half ago, I had never been on a camping trip (not even once), and now I can tell you that anyone can do it and you’ll probably love it. There’s something so great about seeing lots of different places without having to pack up and switch accommodations constantly.

Inside a School Bus conversion. Yellow school bus, turned tiny home on wheels. Interior of the Skoolie, 2 cool 4 skool bus.
Inside our Completed School Bus Conversion

HOW WE DECIDED ON A BUS

Traveling has always been a huge part of our lives and we didn’t slow down after becoming parents. When my daughter turned 1, we left to the Middle East and Africa for a month with her. You’ll find lots of our travels on my Instagram page. Traveling with a baby is very doable, but not super easy. After that trip we decided that we really wanted to plan a huge road trip, like the entire summer on the road with our daughter. We always wanted to tour the US in an RV, but neither my husband nor I had ever been on a camping trip of any sort.

After that conversation, my husband spent a few weeks looking up different types of trailers and RV’s. We decided that a trailer wouldn’t work for us. We live in Miami so going camping for the most part requires super long drives, and we wanted to avoid having to make long drives stuck in the car with a baby. After a few weeks of looking up RV’s, my husband mentioned he would like to convert a yellow school bus into our vacation home on wheels. I thought he was crazy, to be honest.

Converted yellow school bus, 2 Cool 4 Skool Bus, the Skoolie.
Our yellow school bus

My husband loves building things and working with his hands. Turning a yellow school bus into a vacation home would be a huge undertaking, but I knew he could do it if he really wanted to. He starts looking up “skoolies” as they’re known and really fell in love with the idea. He started considering it because he could make sure that our vehicle met all of our needs (and I had a lot of them).

He found a place in Florida that sells school buses. He asked me if I was willing to drive up to Tampa to check them out and I quote him, “just look”, so I agreed. We packed an overnight bag and within the hour we were on the way to Tampa with our 1 year old daughter. We arrived in Tampa at nearly midnight, checked into a hotel and went to sleep. The next morning we got up and went to see some school buses. He found one he loved… it was the right length, had low mileage, a great engine and most importantly had the height he needed. There’s a range of heights common in school buses and we needed the tallest one so that my husband could stand up inside our bus (he’s 6’2) without having to raise the ceiling. Little did I know that my husband came prepared with enough cash to buy a bus if he found the right one. After a quick negotiation, we owned a school bus and it would be delivered to our home in just a few days.

Inside our yellow school bus that would soon be converted to a tiny home on wheels
He can stand up without hitting his head

That’s when the fun began. We start looking up skoolies and RV’s for inspiration and decided on the must have’s for our school bus conversion. Most of our must haves were based around our daughter. We wanted 2 caption chairs up front so both my daughter and I could be facing forward and buckled in at all times, we wanted a tiny tub since our daughter loves bath time, we wanted a king size bed since we co-sleep, and I wanted a washer/dryer because stopping at laundromats all the time is not my idea of fun.

Inside our converted yellow school bus, complete with a washer/dryer, pull out couch and full kitchen.
Check out our pull out couch to accommodate guests and the washer/dryer in our kitchen

My husband began the demolition right away and then we started playing with tape on the floor to figure out the best layout. After 7 long months of construction (my husband did it all on his own), our school bus was ready to travel. We named her 2 Cool 4 Skool Bus. We had originally planned on painting her red, but when she was done, she just looked so good in yellow, that we decided to leave it.

You can see lots of pictures and videos of the conversion process on 2 Cool 4 Skool Bus Instagram page.

Converted School Bus, 2 Cool 4 Skool Bus. Camping in Arizona, during our 2 month road trip. Converted a yellow school bus into our tiny vacation home on wheels, aka a Skoolie.
Camping in Arizona

FINDING THE RIGHT VEHICLE FOR YOU

If you’re planning a road trip, the most important thing is making sure you find a vehicle that meets your needs. There’s so many options with such a variety of pros and cons. Vans are much smaller, easier to maneuver, and so much easier to find a place to stay at night, but their amenities tend to be much more limited. Some RV’s are much taller which give a grander feeling, but then you’re limited to where you can go. Trailers are fantastic if you can pull it with your car and don’t have any super long drives because when you get to your destination you have your car to get around in, rather than having a huge vehicle to move around. We ended up converting a yellow school bus into a vacation home because it best suited our (really my) needs.

First road trip in a yellow school bus turned tiny vacation home on wheels. Inside the Skoolie, 2 Cool 4 Skool bus.
Our first adventure in our bus

If you’re just renting an RV for a weeklong trip then you can sacrifice and make it work, but if you’re planning on buy one, definitely take into account what you would need to be truly comfortable. Maybe the smaller size is better for you, maybe a larger vehicle with more amenities is better. It all depends on you.

OUR ADVENTURES IN 2 COOL 4 SKOOL BUS

Last summer we spent nearly 3 months total traveling the United Stated in our school bus. We went all the way from Miami, Florida to Washington State…. basically from one corner of the country to the other. 15,000 miles later we saw tons of the country and instead of feeling like we were done, it just left us wanting more. I would love to spend more time in Utah, Oregon, California, Arizona and West Virginia. There’s so much to see in this country… I feel like we barely scraped the surface.

View of Arches National Park from inside our converted school bus, 2 Cool 4 Skool Bus.
View from our bed

I’m so glad we purchased a school bus and converted it. It is our second home and the perfect means for traveling (now more so than ever before). Being able to explore such a beautiful country in your own little home is truly the best feeling. We are already planning another big road trip for next summer (hopefully all the way to Alaska) and some smaller ones before that. I think our bus is the perfect size, but if you ask my husband, he wishes it was a little smaller. In all fairness, I’ve never driven our bus, so the bigger the better, as far as I’m concerned.

Driving our yellow school bus in Mount Rainier, Washington that was converted into a vacation home on wheels, known as a skoolie.
Driving up the mountain in Mt Rainier

If you’re considering a school bus conversion, take into account that it is not an easy process, but it will be so worth it when it’s done. If you have any questions, feel free to leave it in a comment below.

If you want a full tour of our bus, check out my previous post SCHOOL BUS TOUR.

HAPPY TRAVELS!

Inside a converted yellow school bus. Turned a bus into a vacation home on wheels. This is 2 Cool 4 Skool Bus, the Skoolie.
Inside a converted yellow school bus. Turned a bus into a vacation home on wheels. This is 2 Cool 4 Skool Bus, the Skoolie.
Interior of a yellow school bus turned into a vacation home on wheels. This Skoolie, 2 Cool 4 Skool Bus, has a king size bed, full kitchen, bathtub and even a washer and dryer. Instead of an RV or trailer, you can design your own interior of a school bus. My favorite remodeling and interior design project I've ever done.
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