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Old 09-24-2017, 03:58 PM   #1
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Talking Family road trip

Hi everyone. My husband and I have 4 littles. I grew up road tripping and would like to do the same with my family, but the minivan gets cramped and with 3 out of the 4 are newly potty training. I would LOVE to have a vehicle with a toilet and a little fridge and such. I had been looking at conversion vans, but I think a bus will be safer.

My idea is to leave a couple of rows of the original seats and get specialized bus car seats. I would like to have an open area, microwave, fridge, small counter (possibly fold out), toilet, and then possibly a sofa bed.

I don't feel like that's asking too much, but I feel a bit overwhelmed at the idea of where to start. I also don't see my husband or I doing the work- he works too much and I chase tiny people. Where do I start? Are there professionals who do this? Does that make insuring easier? I would love to take our first trip next summer.

Thanks everyone!

Jen
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Old 09-24-2017, 04:17 PM   #2
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I would say to look for already converted busses first.
If you can't find what you are looking for then look at having one built. Either option has it's advantages and disadvantages.

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Old 09-24-2017, 04:20 PM   #3
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Do you have suggestions on where to look?
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Old 09-24-2017, 04:22 PM   #4
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We have a classified section here, there are Facebook groups, Craigslist, and (least of all) eBay.

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Old 09-24-2017, 05:00 PM   #5
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We have a classified section here, there are Facebook groups, Craigslist, and (least of all) eBay.

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Thanks. I'm slowly working my way trough things. Starting to make lists of what to look for and what we would need. It's a bit overwhelming starting out. Years ago I had a Honda Element and used to try out mods on the element forum. This is just so much bigger and intimidating.
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Old 09-24-2017, 09:42 PM   #6
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Don't worry, we don't bite... Well most of us. Lol
Ask questions, read posts, and get a feel for what you want... Engine/trans... Size... Raised roof... Type of on board systems... Will you be mostly hooked up or mostly boondocking...
Good luck. If you can think to ask it, likely someone has tried and posted about it. Google search usually works best... "Topic" and Skoolie in the search bar brings up tons of hits. Most right here on the forum.

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Old 09-25-2017, 02:47 AM   #7
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Family road trip

It might put too many constraints on your search, but it might be worth looking for a bus that already has these style seats with integrated child restraints. Or find some that someone else is taking them out....

https://www.safeguardseat.com/produc...ed-child-seat/


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Old 09-25-2017, 05:25 AM   #8
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There's a guy in Denver that may still be converting buses for money, but its like 40 grand or more.
Its probably money better spent to find something already built that someone else has already spent their inheritance or 401k converting.
Also check out motor coaches. For less than a "professional" school bus conversion you can get a coach that will be vastly superior for LONG trips on the freeways and interstates. Then there are the Bluebird Wanderlodges. They're factory built RV's built from the same bones as a school bus.
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Old 09-25-2017, 10:10 AM   #9
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It might put too many constraints on your search, but it might be worth looking for a bus that already has these style seats with integrated child restraints. Or find some that someone else is taking them out....

https://www.safeguardseat.com/produc...ed-child-seat/


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these seats are fairly common in bus junkyards.. my redbyrd has some of them in it.. they are most common in cutaway chassis busses (small wheels, little kids).
-Christopher
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Old 09-25-2017, 11:37 AM   #10
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Kind of an out-of-the-box idea: I used ratchet straps to secure my kids' existing car seats to the bus benches. My benches are molded fiberglass so it's a bit different to the standard square tube and plywood school bus bench. Still, it wouldn't be difficult to weld some kind of loop or anchor to the seat frame. In fact, with just a bit of forethought, they could be arranged to be conveniently compatible with the LATCH belts the kids' car seats probably already have on them.
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Old 09-25-2017, 11:54 AM   #11
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Where do you live? That makes a big difference when looking for someone to convert a bus for you.

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Old 09-25-2017, 01:11 PM   #12
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Kind of an out-of-the-box idea: I used ratchet straps to secure my kids' existing car seats ...
I think I'm doing it wrong- do I put the straps OVER the kids? They are complaining about breathing and such.
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Old 09-25-2017, 01:58 PM   #13
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No, Rusty, that's fine. When you secure them that way it cuts down on the screaming and yelling that sometimes happens when kids get restless after being inside a vehicle for a long ride. It also eliminates "he's breathing my air!" because everybody's air needs are decreased.

Actually, though, road tripping in a bus is great. Though I do intend to have and use seat belts, I also intend to take advantage of the fact that wearing a seat belt isn't required by law in a bus. We'll have a policy somewhat like the airlines do: wear the seat belt as a matter of routine when seated, but it's okay to get up and move about the cabin to stretch, get a snack, visit the restroom, etc.
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Old 09-25-2017, 02:19 PM   #14
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The seatbelt laws are tricky... In a bus you don't need them, in an RV you do...

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Old 09-25-2017, 04:02 PM   #15
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ratchet straps arent rated like that... I wouldnt trust them in a full on collision with anyone;s Life! sorry.. maybe im a prude but life-safety to me is nothing to mess around with.
-Christopher
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Old 09-29-2017, 03:28 PM   #16
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This is great stuff everyone. Thanks! I will look into the wanderlodges. And I have seen some buses for sale with the built in straps.

I agree with the airplane scenario. That's my thinking too. Granted, all my people are too little to do that on their own much. I have a 5 year old, 3 year old twins, and a soon to be 2 year old surprise bonus. I love the idea of having something on-board, even if it's just a porta potty type thing, and that I can walk kids back. Taking 4, 5 and under into a rest stop is chaos. And stopping on the side of the highway for emergencies freaks me out.

We are in Oklahoma. With family in TN, FL, OR, and CA. We are in thr planning stages of a NW trip next summer-CO, UT, ID, OR, WA and back. With FL being the next trip as the kids will be Disney age soon. I grew up going to National Parks and camping and that is a big priority to me, but that will really start in 5 years or so.
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Old 09-29-2017, 07:47 PM   #17
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It's been several years since the last big trip with my family: 1700 miles over 10 days. Back then mine were aged 7, 5, and 18 month twins -- similar to yours. The older two could move around well, but the young two really struggled to keep their balance moving about while driving. Of course they wanted to try to do whatever their bigger siblings could do, so the young two rode in their car seats. Sometimes we'd buckle the 5-point harness over them; other times they'd just sit contentedly but unbuckled so they were more free to wiggle.

One thing I learned and hadn't thought about is that it's hard to sit on a toilet with ankles hobbled by pants and keep one's balance in a moving vehicle. Doubly so when the feet don't reach the floor! So I suggest making the toilet stable so it can't tip over (if it's a portable) and have sturdy walls, handholds, or similar. In any case having your own toilet available for immediate use, whether or not that includes pulling over, is fantastic when traveling with little ones!
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Old 09-29-2017, 09:02 PM   #18
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In any case having your own toilet available for immediate use, whether or not that includes pulling over, is fantastic when traveling with little ones!
It's handy when traveling with wives too
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