Tiny House Craze: Skoolie Edition

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Photo by Bethany Randall on Unsplash



Photo by Bethany Randall on Unsplash

Have you thought about leaving it all behind and selling your house and all your belongings for a life on the road?  Maybe you just want a really cool vacation home that will travel with you to explore unknown destinations.

Tiny houses are popping up all over the world as this craze to declutter and lead a simpler life sweeps across the nation.  In addition to permanent tiny houses, individuals and families are making the move to mobile tiny houses.  They come in all shapes and sizes and all price ranges – from the mega RVs that can cost as much as a moderate home to one person campers that can be created with just a few hundred dollars.

What is a Skoolie?

One increasingly popular craze is the Skoolie.  More and more people are choosing skoolies over RVs as they add additional options and possibilities not found in a traditional RV. A skoolie is a converted school bus turned into a tiny home on wheels.  These too can range in price from minimal to grand scale although the majority hovers around the $10,000 to $20,000 price tag.  This price includes the purchase of a used, non-commissioned school or city bus, as well as all the materials and labor to build the house inside.

You can have your Skoolie built for you (costs a little more), or buy one already built. But most take on the challenge of creating their own.  This leaves the mobile homeowner in charge of the design and aesthetics of their new home on wheels.

Creating small spaces can seem scary, but those that have done it say the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

What are the Pros & Cons of owning a Skoolie?

Pros

  • Adventure & Travel – always wanted to travel across country? No better way than in a skoolie.
  • Cheaper utilities – you have options for electricity from batteries to solar panels with a smaller price tag than standard utilities.
  • Downsizing – declutter your belongings and your life. This tends to lead to a more fulfilled way of living.
  • Price Tag – while the cost to build a Skoolie is dependent on the materials used, typically they can be built for far cheaper than traditional RVs and tiny homes.
  • Safety – busses are built to carry children to school and passengers around town. They are strong and reliable.
  • Customizable – when you build yourself, you can customize your skoolie to your taste.

Cons

  • Gas & Gas Mileage – a school bus will use a lot of gas and have poorer gas mileage than a traditional vehicle.
  • Small Quarters – the living space is tiny. You will need to come up with creative ways to store your belongings.
  • No Permanent Address – if you decide to live in your Skoolie and travel, you will likely need a PO Box to collect your mail – this will in turn result in return trips to a specific location to retrieve your mail.
  • No Privacy – because the space is so small, there will likely be limited privacy when travelling with companions in a school bus.

Not sure where to start?

No need to feel alone. There are many opportunities through Social Media to find support and help during every stage such as purchasing, building, and living.  Some ideas can be found here on my own Pinterest Page – Skoolie Bus Conversion.  I too am thinking about joining the Skoolie community and building my own bus for traveling and vacationing.  I’m not quite ready to live in one full time, but maybe somewhere down the road I’ll take the leap.

Now that I’ve peaked your interest, and you’re thinking ‘hey, I’d kinda like to do this, what do I do now?’ let me help you get started.  The first thing you should do is research.  Find out what others have done.   Find out places to purchase used school buses.  There are options from Craigslist to Facebook Marketplace to auctions and more.

You will also need to decide what size bus you are going to purchase. Will you buy a short bus or a mega city bus or something in between?  It all depends on your needs and budget.  There are other things to consider as well like, can I drive the bus?, where do I purchase insurance?, what type of license do I need?, where will I park  it?, what do I want the inside to look like?, what is my time frame?, and much much more.

RESEARCH

The best advice I can give you is DO YOUR RESEARCH!

Here are a few cool places to research Skoolies:

Your dreams for converting a school bus into a tiny home on wheels can be as big or as small-scale as you wish.  This is the time for you to think and design a concept that matches your personality and lifestyle.  Create storage space in places that are used for other things for example, under the bed or under couches.  Design the bathroom to fit your needs and your family.  Design the kitchen space to fit your style of cooking.

Skoolies can feature back porches and top decks to add outdoor living space.  Decide if you want to use batteries and propane for power. Or are you considering solar panels that will provide the power you need directly from the sun?

There are many things to consider when building a Skoolie and each is unique to its owner.  Good luck in your dream to vacation or live on the road.  Beep beep.