Originally Posted by BrettD
I recently took up an interest in the idea of converting vehicles to use as an RV, which of course is why I am here. My plan is to do a cross country trip with 7 of my friends (I should mention all of us are currently freshmen in college) in the summer of 2018 in a bus. I found plenty of school buses I believe are suitable (and within our budget) on eBay and Craigslist and I have the skill or know people with the skill to do a successful conversion. I am wondering if my dream will be possible. I know it will be possible to convert the bus in this time, but I don't know the legal process on getting a bus across state borders and registering it as an RV? If it helps, we live in Connecticut.
Think about it. The first cost is the bus; 3-5 thousand dollars and you gotta buy it before you start to build it out. Read up on insurance hassles, and don't tell the agent that it's 8 19 year olds living in it fulltime for 3 months. Can you strip it out, build it in, and repaint it with the time and money you have? Budget some money to keep it tagged and insured during the year you're working on it beforehand.
In a 40' long bus you have 7.5' wide x 32-34 feet of room if it's a conventional (engine out front with a hood). 36' if it's a flatnose, but then if it's front engine it's hotter and noisier inside. If it's rear engine then you have that big lumpy thing in the back where the engine is to deal with. Grab some graph paper; get sketching. I'd go rear engine and make the last couple of feet storage over the engine, but that's me. You do you.
You want 8 bunks? That's two over-and-under x two fwd-and-rear x two sides of the bus. 16 feet gone out of your ?? foot budget (plus the engine room, it could be 20) . Build drawers in under the lower bunk and live out of one drawer apiece.
Two couches minimum; maybe a dinette if you're creative. 5' of counter space for food prep and a sink. A frig? or 3 coolers? Ice costs; a frig needs electrons. So do lights. So does the bitchin' sound system you're thinking about.
A solar setup ain't cheap; read the threads, do your homework. Big honkin' batteries aren't cheap, and you'll want a few unless you are OK with only having electrons when the bus is running. You will want some electrons; each and every one of you has 3 rechargeable thingies, a laptop, and a Nintendo. TV? DVD player?
Eating out costs. Buying food to prep and eat in the bus costs less, but it's not free. And you have to have the infrastructure to keep and cook food to do it. Doing your laundry costs. Taking a shower costs. This bus is gonna get _maybe_ 10 mpg and diesel is how much? You're talking 6K miles here.
Put something away for surprises and on-the-road repairs. There will be surprises and on-the-road repairs.
If the 8 of you can sit down and agree on a floor plan and a spreadsheet for the money, you've got a shot at it. Good luck! Take pictures; take video; keep a blog. It'll be something you tell your kids and grandkids about.
BTW, don't plan on recouping squat by selling the bus at the end of the adventure.