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Skoolies (or Schoolies) are school buses converted into recreational vehicles.

Most schoolie conversions to RVs involve a specific series of steps, not necessarily in this order:

Some schoolies also undergo some more dramatic structural changes, often to improve the sometimes limited head room, as the inside of most school buses at the middle is 6'1" (1.85 m). Raising the roof on schoolies is a relatively common modification, and some enthusiasts even go so far as to remove the entire roof and replace it with an entirely new custom roof, usually much higher (See Vista-Dome). Some buses also have had other vehicles grafted to them, had RV "slide-out" sides installed, or have included Jacuzzis.

There are varying regulations in different states in the United States that affect the conversion of a school bus into an Recreational Vehicle (RV). Some states require that the bus's signaling equipment (stop sign, flashing lights, etc.) be removed and the school bus yellow paint scheme, such as California and Illinois, be changed. Other states simply require that the "School Bus" signage at the top front and rear be removed.

Note that if one is driving a large vehicle (more than a certain GVWR) one normally needs a Commercial Driver's License. However, if one is driving the vehicle strictly for personal reasons such as recreation, such a license is not required. However, if one ventures into Canada and has air brakes, such a license (or a regular license with airbrake endorsement) is required. If one does not have such an endorsement, one's bus will be parked until a properly-licensed driver is engaged to move it.

One of the most difficult problems facing someone wishing to own their own used school bus is that of insurance. Many individuals have obtained insurance online or by telephone, only to have their policy cancelled as soon as underwriting has examined the paperwork. Reasons given are that drivers are less than well-trained and that a large vehicle has the ability to cause more damage than a car. The critical problem is one of possible misrepresentation: if the owner claims he owns a truck and is in an accident, the insurance company may disallow his claim or pay it and then drop him - and obtaining insurance after being dropped is very difficult. One should find a local agent and arrange one's insurance before purchasing a bus to avoid the problem of owning a vehicle that cannot be legally driven.

  • Removal of seats
  • Installation of 110/220 VAC electrical system, generator/inverter, solar system, extra batteries, etc.
  • Installation of plumbing, including:
  • Insulation of the floor, walls and/or ceilings
  • Installation of replacement flooring
  • Installation of furniture, cabinetry and appliances
  • Exterior cosmetic changes (paint, etc.)


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