Hello Vanlifers!

Newbie here! My daughter and I have just begun our adventure and are looking for the perfect vans/bus. She is almost 20 so we are trying to decide which is better- a full size bus to convert into a 2 bedroom? Or 2 vans? Can anyone help us decide? We are mainly focused on a balance of needing our own space and being economical. Any tips on for sale vans or buses would be very much appreciated! Thanx!:grin:

Welcome to the forum. An old school bus can be found for less than one van, and the overall fuel costs will probably be about the same (1 bus vs. 2 vans). You’ll also be able to share the driving, and a larger common space. The only disadvantages with the bus might be fitting into the smallest camping sites and parking spots, but two vans take just as much room. Of course with a bus you’d have to learn how to handle a larger vehicle, and know how to keep the air brakes adjusted properly (very important). Depending on where you register it, you might also have to change the title of a bus to an RV title.

School buses are generally pretty tough vehicles that can take abuse, and are safer in a collision. I was a school bus driver for a year between the military and college, and could take my 40 foot bus just about anywhere. In the summer I drove wild land fire crews around in a modified school bus on some very rough roads. With practice it isn’t a big deal. Even without seat belts, kids on school buses are about 20 times safer than if they got a ride from mom in the family car.

Very good info thx! I would love to be more stealthy but maybe that’s a luxury out of our budget for now. I was thinking a bus would be safer having us both in one dwelling. Any tips on honest sellers? I would be able to fly anywhere in US and drive it back. I worry about finding out I’ve been scammed on that drive back.

I think “stealth camping” is just the opposite of stealth. You’ll attract more of the wrong kind of attention trying to hide and be sneaky than you would just being open about what you’re doing.

I don’t know of a good honest seller of schoolies, but since school buses are so common you might be able to find them locally and have a mechanic look it over. You may also want to ask the question on a schoolie forum.

I brokered a deal for a luxury quarter-million dollar RV last year, and since the chassis was made by Freightliner I took it to the local Freightliner truck dealership to have it checked for the buyer. You can do the same with a bus.

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Awesome! Thank you Axle!

Greetings & Welcome!

I would go with a bus with a fuel efficient runabout in tow.


"Money only buys happiness if it's spent wisely." ~ MoneyMisers

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She’s 20? Definitely 2 rigs. Definitely. Because she’s 20. Her life could go any direct, at the drop of a hat (decide to go to college, get a new job, go live with a boyfriend or relative) and I would hope that you would be okay with that. I have an 18 year old and tbh, I’m surprised your 20 year old is even entertaining the idea of living in a vehicle with her mother. Even if you were the world’s most perfect mother!

I would not buy a vehicle for a 20-year-old. Leads to an entitlement mindset and lack of independence. Spoil your kids rotten and they’ll keep coming back for more - maybe for decades. If you have to “buy” their love, there’s something else wrong.

Sharing an adventure (bus) is something completely different.

No way the perfect Mother. But it’s been her dream for a few years now and wants to spend time with me :blush: she will be taking online classes. You guys may have the wrong picture of a 20yr old when it comes to mine. She is very responsible. She owns her own car and insurance, I only help her with some rent from time to time. We have decided a single bus is best for us now and in a couple years we’ll go for 2 vans. It is the best economical path for us right now. Thank you for all of yalls help!

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