Adventures in Living Mobile – Skoolie Bus FAQ

Skoolies are vehicles that were originally purchased as school buses and converted into homes on wheels. Traditional Skoolies come in the standard yellow school bus style but let’s go with the fact that all buses of different shapes and sizes can fall under the Skoolie umrbrella. Some skoolie enthusiasts prefer an economical yet functional layout, while others enjoy lavish small college units on wheels with all the amenities of home including hot tubs and other luxury features.

Skoolies are an awesome way to get out of the rat race and hit the open road with your family or friends. They are uniquely customizable unlike traditional RVs while still being surprisingly affordable. The best part about skoolies is their functionality is also 100% awesome! That’s because Skoolies are both homes on wheels and vehicles operated by human power.

Skoolies are school buses that have been converted into mini-RVs, however they are much cheaper than traditional RVs! Thinking about starting your Skoolie conversion yourself or buying a bespoke one? Read on to learn more and let your skoolie have a phoenix rebirth.

Save Big with Skoolies

Why pay more for a regular RV when you can have your own school bus? The old yellow school buses that were once fixtures at every elementary school parking lot are reborn with the Skoolie movement and as more people look for new forms of Tiny Home.

Buying an old school bus has many advantages over buying new or used RVs (not available online). RVs are expensive, skoolies are cheaper and often include conversions done by previous owners. Skoolies also run on diesel fuel which is less expensive.

Skoolie FAQ
Skoolie FAQ

What Does Skoolie Mean?

The term “skoolie” is a slang word used to describe a vehicle that has been converted into a mobile home. It can be used interchangeably with the terms skooler, skool bus, and skool wagon. The term also describes a school bus driver who drives a Skoolie.

In this instance Skoolie refers to the upcycling of former yellow American school buses which we’ve all ridden or seen in movies, hell even Principal Ed Rooney had to ride the bus at the end of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

How Much Does a Skoolie Cost?

The quick answer is that you can expect to pay between $20,000 and $30,000 for a self renovation but it has a lot of permutations attached. A Skoolie can be purchased for as little as $3000 for a small bus or up to $10,000 for a 13 window (40ft) full sized bus.

Of course, as the popularity of the renovation projects are increasing so too are the asking prices Doing a DIY renovation on your new bus is by far the most rewarding and you are in control on how bespoke you want to go with your fit out.

What license do you need to drive a skoolie?

There’s a lot of misunderstanding about whether you need a CDL (commercial driver’s license) or a special type of driver’s license to drive converted school bus RVs (what we call skoolies), and the disparities in state regulations add to the confusion.

So, do you need a CDL to drive a skoolie? In most situations, the answer is no. You don’t need a CDL if you’ve registered your skoolie for personal use (usually as a recreational vehicle). However, depending on the weight of your skoolie, you may require an air brake certification or another license in your state of origin.

Different states have different laws about driving a school bus as personal vehicle. In some places you’ll need the same license as any commercial bus driver, but in others you can get by with just your standard car or truck driver’s license. It really is a grey area and you’ll need to do some homework to be sure you can drive your skoolie in your home state or various states if you’re on the road.

Where to park skoolie long term?

Parking and long term stays are always a problem and a cause concern for any RV and Skoolie owner. A lot of bus owners have their own or family land too and long term can park up there. But what do you do if this is your home and there’s no private land to park?

Skoolies are allowed in most RV parks which is a great start for any person looking for get into skoolie-life. However, there are a lot of campsites that don’t allow skoolies. Make sure you navigate to RV parks if you’re looking for a night stand or negotiate with the RV park owners or state park for semi to long term layover.

For long term parking, BLM or Bureau of Land Management federal owned properties are great areas to park long terms are a small fee which is used to maintain facilities.. Check out the BLM government agency website here. Essentially you are boondocking which is legal and encouraged but with little or no amenities available.

It may also be worthwhile posting to social media, or scouring sites such as Craigslist and other classifieds as some land owners allow RVs and Skoolies to park long-term.

Shorter buses do fit in normal parking spaces. Within the community of people living in vans or buses, the recommendation is to seek out church and colleges. Never park in residential areas, block someones entrance. Generally you can park for one night almost anywhere once you turn up late and leave early.

How long does a skoolie conversion take?

Skoolie conversion duration

This is an interesting one for most people. As you can imagine, the more money someone has the faster they might be able to do it. However, no matter what budget you’re on there’s always a way to get your hands dirty and start converting your skoolie into your new home!

Typically speaking, an individual carrying out a DIY conversion will take 16-20 weeks to complete but it is entirely based on finances, your DIY ability and skills and how good you are at project management.

When is Skooliepalooza 2022?

Skooliepalooza 2022 is scheduled to happen in Parker, AZ from January 21st – 31st.

The first skooliepalooza event happened in January 2017 and strong community bonds were forged in that initial gathering. Since then, the number of conversion buses have increased year on year. What a better way to share your skoolie experiences and learn from others while sitting around campfires each night or going for hikes.

Can a skoolie tow a car?

In short, yes it can tow a car. However, there are a few considerations.

What is a toad or dinghy?

The terms are used interchangeably when describing the a towed car. We ain’t talking about frogs and boats here.

Four down flat towing

Can your car be flat towed? (‘dinghy towing’ or ‘four down’)? If yes you can tow by connecting your Skoolie and car with a small tow bar. A further consideration with flat towing is whether your car transmission allows for four down towing. A lot of vehicles are not compatible with this method of towing so be sure to check with your car manufacturer before diving in and ruining your car transmission.

Tow Dolly

A tow dolly is a trailer on which the front two wheels of a car are loaded and driven. The vehicle’s rear wheels are on the ground, rolling as the motorhome moves.

A tow dolly is used to tow front-wheel-drive vehicles, but rear-wheel-drive cars can be towed if their gearboxes are disconnected.

Car Hauler (Trailer)

If your toad is an all-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive vehicle, you’ll most likely have to get all four wheels up and haul it on a trailer behind your skoolie.

The trailers are commonly called car haulers because they have two axles for stability and no rails along the edges.

If you’re in the market for a car hauler make sure you size it properly for the size of your car.

Lastly, with any skoolie and towing, make sure you know what the engine is capable of. if there are any technical issues, get it checked before you tow or haul anything as towing could cost you a lot in repairs otherwise.

Where can I buy Skoolies

The popularity of the skoolie is increasing but there are still deals to be had.

Keep an eye on such places as

Facebook Marketplace

Craigslist

Conversion Trader

Skoolie.net classifieds

Skoolie Life adventures
Couple kissing in their Skoolie home Life adventures

The All-in-One Home on Wheels

Moving can be expensive, especially if you need to hire movers or rent a van. And once you get settled into your new home, who wants to do it all over again? With Skoolies, none of these problems exist. Thanks to their customizable construction and flexible design, skoolies are the perfect vehicle for any move – big or small. They’re even great for extended trips throughout America and Canada and adventures through the country side! In fact, spending time exploring with friends and family is one of the best parts about owning a skoolie in the first place. All you have to do is pack up your things and hit the road and maybe join skooliepalooza each January

One Way to Spend Time with Family

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a place to call home. And even less people are able to stay in that same place without taking on a single financial obligation. In fact, over one-fourth of Americans spend the majority of their income on housing! But Skoolies provide a unique alternative that can solve these problems for good. Using skoolies means never having to worry about paying rent or mortgages ever again (though there are overheads and servicing fees) – you own your vehicle outright! With free money like that, you’ll be able to travel with friends and family more often than ever before too. 

Don’t Settle for Anything Less Than a Skoolie Adventure

Living in a big city is expensive. From the cost of your apartment to the price of daily commuting, it can feel like you’re constantly in debt. No matter how much money you make at work, it never seems like enough. If this sounds familiar, perhaps living frugally and spending more time enjoying life, even skoolie life or van-life might help. But if that’s too difficult without your car, what about buying a vehicle that won’t cost you an arm and a leg?

Two of the most popular, and often expensive, options for home transportation are owning a car or a recreational vehicle. Cars are practical but lack flexibility when traveling long distances. Recreational vehicles (RVs) offer space but they’re expensive to purchase and difficult to finance. But what if there was a third type of automobile that combined the best parts of a classic car with a flexible RV? What if you could take this vehicle on any adventure without having to worry about financing it? And even better, what if you could build it yourself from scratch? Well now there is! Skoolies provide all the benefits of an RV with none of the downsides.

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