Converted Yellow School Bus. Bus conversion into a tiny vacation home on wheels. 2 Cool 4 Skool Bus, the Skoolie.


A Skoolie is a used school bus repurposed into a tiny house on wheels. They have gained popularity (including short bus conversions) along with conversion vans as new options for living on the road, beyond a traditional camper RV. In the last 5 years, since we bought and renovated 2 Cool 4 Skool Bus, our custom school bus conversion, I’ve seen a huge influx in the bus life (people living in a school bus) and van life world. Yellow school busses are a great way to have a lot of space while reducing costs, as used busses sell rather inexpensive (they have gone up as bus life has gained popularity). School bus conversions are also desirable as you’re able to customize your school bus conversion to your needs. From what I’ve seen, most school bus conversion floorpans are quite simple and only have the bare necessities, many don’t even have bathrooms. Our school bus makeover is definitely one of the most over the top on the road… it has it all! If you’re looking for school bus conversion ideas you’ve come to the right blog.

My husband and I share a mutual love of traveling and in the 17 years we have been together we have done a whole lot of it. But after so many epic trips around the world, we realized just how little we’ve seen of our home country, the United States. Traveling has always been our thing, but camping was a whole new world for the both of us. We were both born and raised in Miami, Florida which is not known for camping at all. Being so far from all the cool camping spots in the United States, mixed with the constant heat, it’s a less than desirable starting point for any road trip.

In 2018, we decided to convert a yellow school bus into a tiny home on wheels. Although Skoolies (what they call school bus conversions) have gained quite a lot of popularity in the last few years, that was not the case when we bought ours. School bus conversions definitely existed, but they were not popular at all. Our timing was truly incredible because no one could have ever imagined a full blown international travel ban and a pandemic in 2020. Who would have known that our school bus would soon become the best way to travel?

2 Cool 4 Skool Bus is our custom school bus conversion, aka our tiny home on wheels. Our skoolie interior consists of a king bed, a bathtub, washer/dryer, a full kitchen, 2 belted captain chairs, a pull out couch, a composting toilet and a dining table. In addition to all of that we have solar panels, heat, 2 A/C’s, 2 generators, a roof deck, storage space, etc. Our school bus conversion home truly is the best school bus build I’ve seen.

Let’s backtrack to how we ended up in bus life. In 2017, we became parents and continued our travel lifestyle along with our daughter. When my daughter turned 1, we left to Europe, the Middle East and Africa for over a month with her. We had an incredible time on that trip and continued to plan more adventures with her. You’ll find lots of our travels on my Instagram page. We realized how quickly time was passing and wanted to travel as much as possible with our daughter before she started school full time. Since we hadn’t seen much of the US, we talked about planning an epic summer road trip, like the entire summer exploring the states. 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.

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


After discussing that we would like to do a big summer road trip, my husband spent a few weeks looking up different types of trailers and RV’s. He realized that renting one wasn’t cost effective for such a long trip. It made more sense to buy one and sell it after if we didn’t plan on using it again. Through our research 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.

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

After a few weeks of looking up RV’s, my husband mentioned he would like to build an RV bus conversion. He was going to convert school bus to camper all by himself without ever having been camping in his life. I thought he was crazy, to be honest. He started looking into how to make an RV school bus conversion and did tons of research over the next few days. He looked up custom bus conversions, school bus conversion cost, school bus conversion floor plans, converted school buses for ideas, short bus conversion ideas, and everything in between. The more he looked into it, the more he loved the idea.

My husband loves building things and working with his hands. Construction is his jam! Taking on a skoolie conversion would be a huge undertaking, but I knew he could do it if he really wanted to. He started looking up skoolies and really fell in love with the idea. He was considering it because this way he could ensure that our vehicle met all of our needs (and I had a lot of them). Plus, I’m not going to lie, he loves a good project! In all fairness, the idea of a school bus camper that I could design with pretty colors and wallpaper did sound much more enticing than a traditional all brown RV, so I wasn’t against it. I love doing things a little different than everyone else…. life on a bus sounded exciting, especially is my conversion school bus was going to be my little dream house inside. As much as he loves construction, I love interior design, so this was a great project for us as a team.

He found a place in Florida that sells used 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 had no proper school bus to RV conversion plans in place yet… I assumed we were just doing a little more research. So 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 wasn’t jut looking of the nicest school bus. There was a lot of criteria a bus needed to fill to work for your family. Incredibly, 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 makeover. 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. That’s just for the interior. He had even more must haves when it came to the exterior, power, mechanics, etc. Having a skoolie bus conversion wasn’t popular, but they certainly existed, so we had to do a lot of research to find converted school busses that would serve as inspiration. I could never imagine what would fit in a full size bus, which is just 199 square feet, if I hadn’t seen photos of others that were already built. It truly is a tiny house.

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 bus conversion floor plan. The hardest part was deciding on where to put the bathroom because that meant we had to put up skoolie walls and there’s a big difference between having them in the front or the back. Another big decision was about covering the windows. Many skoolies cover up their windows or build out in front of them but I was adamant I wanted to look out a window when I was in bed or making breakfast, so we needed to keep as many as possible. For bee being on the road is all about the beautiful views and I wanted to see them from anywhere in the bus. After 7 long months of construction on our skoolie bus conversion (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. I might be biased, but I’d say its the nicest school bus out there. If you’re interested in building your own, I shared our full bus conversion cost breakdown on here, which will definitely help you to budget school bus conversion.

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


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. My husband now says that a short bus camper conversion is the way to go, but I don’t know if I’m willing to give up that much space. Maybe on our next build.

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. However, I will tell you this… There’s something so great about seeing lots of different places without having to pack up and switch accommodations constantly like you do when you’re staying in hotels, and this is true for any of those options.

As a planner, I’m used to traveling and having every last detail planned out before arriving at my destination. Our first bus trip humbled me quickly… we took an extra day to leave due to some issues and we missed all of our beginning reservations. After that I learned to go with the flow. If the weather sucks, we go to the next place. If we’re having an amazing time, we stay longer. Being on your bus gives you full freedom to go with the flow. We’ve been able to experience so many amazing things because of this freedom. Here are some of my favorite photos from our adventures on the bus…


Summer 2019 was our first big adventure. 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. There’s so much to see in this country… I feel like we barely scraped the surface. So in 2021 we did it again. Another 3 month road trip from one end of the country to the other with countless stops in between. Hands down, the Utah, Colorado, Arizona area is my favorite, but all in all the US is incredibly gorgeous and well worth exploring.

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. Being able to explore such a beautiful country in your own little home is truly the best feeling. We would love to take our skoolie on the biggest adventure yet, all the way to Alaska, but having a kid in school now makes it hard. Personally 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 bus conversion RV, take into account that it is not an easy process to build it out yourself, but it will be so worth it when it’s done. Today, skoolies are much more popular, so it’s much easier to buy bus conversion than before. They might seem expensive upfront, but take into account the school bus rv conversion cost and the time it’ll take. It might be worth buying one already done and just do a few updates so you can enjoy it right away. Really take into account your needs, how handy you are and how soon you want to be on the road. If you have any questions, feel free to leave it in a comment below.

If you want to see our full skoolie tour, check out my previous post SCHOOL BUS TOUR.


School bus conversion, 2 Cool 4 Skool Bus is our skoolie which is a tiny home on wheels. We bought a yellow school bus to convert for traveling. Skoolies have become popular for traveling and many people even live in a bus. We use ours in the summer to travel the States.
School bus conversion, 2 Cool 4 Skool Bus is our skoolie which is a tiny home on wheels. We bought a yellow school bus to convert for traveling. Skoolies have become popular for traveling and many people even live in a bus. We use ours in the summer to travel the States.
School bus conversion, 2 Cool 4 Skool Bus is our skoolie which is a tiny home on wheels. We bought a yellow school bus to convert for traveling. Skoolies have become popular for traveling and many people even live in a bus. We use ours in the summer to travel the States.
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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  • Reply John Askham February 17, 2021 at 9:04 pm

    Just read the story of your school bus conversion….very cool project, it has me thinking long and hard about doing the same. I’m going to be retiring from Miami Dade Fire Dept in about 2 years and travel is definitely in my plans, incl some big road trips. Given that I would be doing the work myself….any tips or lessons learn’t from the process would be sincerely appreciated. Whenever I build something I always find myself wishing I knew what I know at the end….in the beginning. Also, you mentioned various models/roof heights….if I can avoid lifting the roof that’ll save a lotta work. Thanks in advance.

    • Reply The Traveling Red October 7, 2022 at 4:07 pm

      Hi John, in terms of tips for doing it yourself, definitely check out my husbands Instagram @2cool4skoolbus. He did all of the work himself and explained it. It’s all saved in his highlights. It’ll help to see the process.

  • Reply Tiffany March 23, 2021 at 10:54 pm

    Are there specific buses that are taller than others? Or do you just have to do stand in them? My husband is 6’2’’ as well I would love to get a bus I don’t have to raise the roof in. Thanks!

    • Reply The Traveling Red October 7, 2022 at 4:03 pm

      We had to go to a place that sells them and he stood in a whole bunch til he found some options. My husband is the same (about 6’2 and a half really) and only some are big enough. Remember you need an extra inch or two for when you add the floor, ceiling, etc.

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