Ever thought about hitting the road and living life on wheels?
Sure, vans and RVs are cool, but some people are doing something even cooler: turning shuttle buses into epic campers.
Yep, those same buses you’ve taken from the airplane to the terminal. People are giving them a makeover and creating their dream homes inside.
In this post, I’m going to show you the best shuttle bus conversions I’ve found online.
And if you’re thinking, “Hey, maybe I should give this a go!”, I’ve got you covered with a guide on what you need to know. Ready to dive in? Let’s roll!
Overview of Shuttle Buses
These buses provide a great starting point for those looking to create their own customized and mobile homes. With their sturdy build and spacious interiors, shuttle buses offer ample potential for creating comfortable and functional living spaces.
From school buses to airport shuttles, these vehicles can be transformed into fully equipped, self-sustainable homes on wheels.
Whether you’re seeking a compact and minimalistic design or a more spacious and luxurious layout, shuttle buses have the potential to cater to a wide range of conversion ideas.
With the freedom to incorporate features such as beds, kitchens, bathrooms, and ample storage space, shuttle bus conversions offer endless possibilities for those seeking an alternative and adventurous lifestyle.
Top 10 Most Inspiring Shuttle Bus Conversions & Ideas
Savannah and Drew converted a Ford E-450 shuttle bus into a full-time living and travel space, boasting a powerful electrical system including 1400 watts of solar power derived from seven solar panels, five of which are fixed with two being slide-out, paired with a 3000-watt inverter and 600-amp-hours of lithium batteries.
The cozy interior features a convenient bathroom placed behind the driver’s seat, marked with vivid blue tiles in the shower area, and a full-size hinged bed at the back allowing internal access to the garage and situated beside a spacious sliding door closet.
Adding to their comfort, a versatile magnetic projector screen allows for movie watching in multiple locations within the bus, including from the bed.
The Sol Bus
Stephanie and Sara transformed a 2003 Ford E-550 extended shuttle bus into an expansive mobile home featuring more living space due to its extended wheelbase. The interior hosts a spacious living room and kitchen, with extendable benches doubling as a guest bed and abundant storage for tools and electrical components.
With air doors allowing natural light and airflow, the bus maintains separation between the cab and the living space, complemented by a deck accessible from the bedroom, providing a permanent outdoor space.
The bus is powered by an 800-watt solar panel system, paired with a 3000-watt inverter and a 40-amp charger controller, running on a 24-volt electrical system.
Brad transformed a 2004 Ford E-450 shuttle bus to suit his on-the-road work lifestyle, featuring a long computer desk behind the driver’s seat as his primary workspace, complete with a computer chair and a window to enjoy the views.
The bus has two doors on the passenger side, with the back door offering access to garage storage space underneath the full-size bed, positioned width-wise and partitioned to create a distinct bedroom area.
The conversion is powered by a 2000-watt inverter, a 200-amp-hour battery, and a 320-watt solar panel, ensuring ample electricity for Brad’s needs.
Shuttle Bus Conversion by AlejaOdyssey
Aleja and Kenan converted a shuttle bus into a debt-free living space to accommodate themselves and their cat, Oreo, featuring a unique layout with a cab, kitchen, living room, bedroom, bathroom, and garage. They modified the entrance door to open outward and installed various conveniences like a coat hanger, bulkhead storage, and a space for Oreo’s litter box.
The kitchen is equipped with essential amenities like a camp stove and a sink with a foot pump. A desk dominated by Oreo’s play area and a convertible L-shaped sofa that transforms into a guest bed adorn the living room. The uniquely arranged bedroom lies length-wise beside the emergency doors, allowing space for an adjacent bathroom equipped with a portable toilet and a shower.
Stephanie, leveraging her background in interior design, meticulously converted her 2007 Chevrolet Duramax shuttle bus for part-time van life, aspiring to transition to full-time living, showcasing her expertise in the accents and color choices within the bus.
A secure butcher block door separates the cab from the living space, enhancing security with a lock, a deadbolt, and supplementary security through cameras and external sensors.
A full-size bed is strategically placed width-wise at the back, augmented with a Maxxair fan for circulation and a dual-purpose headboard serving as storage for dirty laundry.
Skyler Kruse at @offgriddesign
Skylar and Ashley transformed a shuttle bus into a camper for family trips.
They opted for pre-made furniture, like counters and cabinets, for a faster build.
The camper includes an extra seat with a seatbelt and an additional bed, plus a lofted child’s bed over the main full-size bed.
The kitchen is behind the driver’s seat, featuring a long countertop, a 4-burner cooktop, and a toaster oven.
Opposite the kitchen, a bench seat houses a cassette toilet and provides a unique clothing storage solution with collapsible cubbies, which can be hung from the ceiling when in use.
Sydney, along with her cat, has converted a 2016 Ford E-450 shuttle bus for van life, downsizing from a 40-foot school bus for easier maneuverability.
The bus features a 6’2″ interior clearance, creating a spacious living area. She preserved most of the original windows to enhance natural lighting and support plant growth. An existing overhead storage box in the cab was repurposed into a library.
The bus includes a dinette near the entryway, with additional doors that open up for fresh air and views. The kitchen is equipped with a full range, fridge/freezer, and a sink, while a hidden walk-in shower is revealed by removing a countertop.
Sydney also installed a 200-amp-hour lithium-ion battery and 550 watts of solar panels for the bus’s electrical needs.
Considerations When Converting a Shuttle Bus
Transforming a shuttle bus into your dream house on wheels is no small feat. Think about what makes a house a home: the kitchen, storage, bed, and so much more. Let’s dive into some key areas to consider when you start your bus makeover.
If you’ve ever tried to make a sandwich without enough counter space, you know the struggle. So when converting your bus, make sure you’ve got room to chop those veggies! You could install a solid countertop, or maybe go for foldable surfaces that pop out when you need them. Just remember to pick materials that can handle some wear and tear, but still make cleaning a breeze.
Buses might be bigger than vans, but you’d be surprised at how fast they can fill up. Think about using overhead cabinets, sneaky under-bed storage, hidden spots for your appliances, or even in-wall compartments. Not only do these help you stay organized, but they also keep your space looking open and clutter-free.
Everyone loves a good sleep, and in a bus, you’ve got to get creative. Convertible furniture can be a game-changer. Imagine a cozy dinette during the day that flips into a bed at night. Or, make the most of your space with beds that have extra storage underneath or nifty wall-mounted pockets.
Upper Cabinets/Overhead Cabinets
Installing upper or overhead cabinets can be a bit tricky, so make sure you do it towards the end of your conversion. Paint the doors outside the bus to get that perfect finish, and then pop them in once they’re all dry and looking pretty.
Ever thought of having a bed on a platform? It’s a genius move in a bus conversion. This design makes the most of your space and means you get bonus storage underneath. Plus, it feels a bit fancy, doesn’t it?
Alright, let’s talk gas. Your shuttle bus’s gas mileage can depend on a bunch of things, like its engine type, how heavy it is, and even how you drive. Want to get more miles for your buck? Keep those tires pumped, don’t haul around stuff you don’t need, and try to drive smooth. And hey, have you thought about alternative fuels? They might help you save some green – in more ways than one.
Guest Bed Options
Got friends or family crashing for the night? Convertible dinettes can double up as guest beds, and if you want to go all out, create a separate little bedroom with curtains. It’s like a studio apartment on wheels!
Air Brake Certification and Air Conditioner Installation
Some shuttle buses come with air brakes, and if yours does, you might need to get a special license or certification. It’s super important, so make sure to check out the requirements where you live. And for those hot summer days? Consider installing an air conditioner. Think about where it’ll go, how big it needs to be, and how you’re going to power that bad boy.
See more bus conversions:
- 8+ Inspiring School Bus Conversion Ideas & Layouts
- 9+ Cool Vintage Bus Conversions
- 10+ Inspiring Short Bus RV Conversions (#6 is the most cozy setup I’ve ever seen)
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