Living in a bus in the city?

for years i have been considering moving into a bus to live long term.
i would like to leave it parked in the city, preferably behind a closed gate and have access to a house/bathroom/kitchen, near public transportation. I havent found anything like that sooo

  1. how does one secure a large vehicle in the city? partion cab and living space? gate off windows? generally i have parked my small van in nice neighborhoods and rode my bike to the location, but i know parking will be much more limited than a smaller vehicle

  2. i hear there are lots of issues parking a large vehicle in the city and lots of unexpected tickets due to vehicle size. unexpected tows? any other common city incovniences with large vehicles, that i may be completely oblivious too?

  3. lots of free campsites, hotsprings, weird points of interest are off the main roads. scope out a road and pick my battles? …turn around on most of them?

from what i understand, school buses and ambulances can be had in good condition for a $3000 and up at auction, and are easy to repair, 10-15mpg
00’s vans like the ford econoline are a ~$5000 and up and beat to hell, ?easy to repair? and get about 13-18mpg, hightop can be added for $3000
modern sprinter/ram/transit are 10’s of thousands of dollars, 15-20mpg and are expensive to repair
…does this sound right?


I’m pretty new here, but if you had access to a house, kitchen, and bath near public transport in a city - why would you even need a bus? Sounds a lot like you also would have to own or rent that (expensive) private gated city property. So, I’m kind of confused.

Buses, major cities, and stealth camping seem pretty hard to put together in the same sentence. There are lots of parking restrictions and permits, vehicle restrictions, turning radius and height clearance issues, toll roads and bridges, commercial registration and inspection in many places, etc.

Outside of cities is going to be much easier. But the bigger and more unusual your vehicle is, the more attention it attracts. Skoolies aren’t stealthy.

Wouldn’t you have a kitchen/bathroom/shower inside of your bus? Unless it’s a window licker, you’re probably going to be towing a car. I have seen very few busses without a car towed behind, or someone following in a car. Not saying they aren’t out there, but I think few and far in between.

As far as point 3 you might be backing out. A lot of the ‘weird points’ of interest can be difficult spots to turn around in car let alone a bus.

Ambulances have a ton of wasted space unless you are going to remove everything in them. Many were not designed to use all the space available

well considering rent in the city is $1000 for a room in shared house and rising, i would like to have a short bus as a bedroom and poop in it as little as possible (composting toilet on hand). maybe pay like $250-500/mo for the driveway and house access

also i was refering to a shortbus, not a mega RV pulling a trailer. i would like to invest in a ebike. also id like to trade in my 25mpg truck for a 35mpg wagon. live in the bus on a secure property in my home city. take long trips in the car

if i move to another city, leave the car/wagon in my parents yard. park the bus in places, get around via ebike?

if i wanna do hardcore traveling, then id just tour the country in the wagon.

my whole issue is i travel alot and i dont want to keep hopping from expensive room to expensive room, everytime i leave for a few months to travel. if i go traveling in my wagon for a few months. i can park the bus in a buddies back yard in the boonies for a few months for free. the issue is i cant find secure parking in the city … so how is living in a shortbus in the city???

[quote=“busstop, post:4, topic:7689”]
the issue is i cant find secure parking in the city …
[/quote] Yeah, I think that is the 12000 lb GVWR in the room. When it comes to parking (any size vehicle) in cities you usually face the “pick any two - cheap, legal, convenient” choice. Cities are almost always heavily patrolled/policed. Unless you have access to a spot either by owning, renting, friend or relative, etc., the odds of just parking a large van/bus anywhere cheaply AND legally AND convenient are slim to none. Not that there aren’t places to park - people boondock in NYC - but you may have to park away from public transit, move in the middle of the night, move during snow removal, etc.


I think your mpg for buses is very optimistic. Most of the people seem to say 6-8 mpg for any size schoolie, shuttle buses may do better. Maybe because schoolies are built like a tank for safety purposes.

Another problem with schoolies is that many of them don’t allow standing height for adults, so don’t just assume they will.

Parking depends a lot on the towns, and/or whether they actively enforce certain parking laws. I see a lot of huge motorhomes, buses, etc. parked on city streets without moving for months, with people living in them. Obviously in some places you can get away with it.

There are apps like hipcamp to match campers with homeowners, but I would strongly suggest making your rig fully self contained.

When I had big buses or motorhomes, churches were one of my solutions for parking, and I had very good luck getting written permission to stay at them. Some even offered water & power, and a few offered inside access to a restroom too.

See a vacant commercial property? Contact the owner for permission. A friend is parked on a vacant fenced in parking lot for free, with free power & water, in exchange for him keeping an eye on the place.

Opportunities are out there if you’re creative.


"Wherever I may roam, I always take my home." ~ Van_Dweller