At the very simple end of the equation an RV Bus Conversion is simply what it says on the tin; you take a bus and convert it into a Recreational Vehicle that you can use for your vacations for longer periods on the road.
When dealing with a vehicle of this kind your options are reasonably varied, simply because you are dealing with a vehicle which has more space than something smaller. The scope for including areas inside the vehicle that suit your particular lifestyle, while not being endless, are greater than those available when using a smaller truck as a base vehicle. If you take lots of kit with you then you have the option of using part of the bus as a garage for your quad, motorbike or even for a small car. You can use it to house your ski equipment, boat or anything else that you want to bring with you. This however may be a bit of a waste of space and you are probably better using a properly designed toy hauler if you do have lots of play-things that you like to take with you on your vacations.
The bus conversion really comes into its own when you go down the road of providing yourself with space and comfort. It is possible to have separate rooms such as kitchen and living space as well as separate bedrooms for different family members who like to have their own space. This makes it far different from the travel trailer or a fifth wheel unit where, while the living is comfortable, even luxurious, it is more communal than the options available for creating private space on a bus.
Everything that you have at home can be built into a bus conversion including a bathroom (with an actual bath), entertainment area/TV lounge, hobby area (when we get one it will have a sewing room and a ham radio shack where my wife and I can indulge our different hobbies. With online communications it is possible to have an office on board one of these things, particularly if you are self employed, to work while you are on the move.
This type of RV will suit those who obviously have a larger budget than most and perhaps who tend to spend more time using their units. They are suitable for traveling longer distances and for spending longer periods of time away from home. They are of course particularly useful things if you plan on being a full time RVer.
They’re not suitable for all types of journey though, being particularly useful in countries and territories where the roads are wide and straight and where the accommodation on the campsites and RV parks is sufficiently ample to to allow ease of maneuverability and parking. I have seen these arrive in Europe, mostly as imports from the US, where owners can struggle with narrower roads and smaller more restricted campsites. On a side note and going slightly off topic one manufacturer of caravans or travel trailers who have addressed this issue in entering the European market is Airstream. They now produce a vehicle with a narrower wheelbase that is easier to use on smaller roads.
This type of unit therefore will suit those who are dedicated to their RV, who have the time and money to commit to their hobby and to the hobbies that they might bring along on the road with them.
When you use one of these you are of necessity restricted to the tarmac, or at least to roads which have a reasonable surface. There may be some room for flexibility but generally speaking you are confined to roads and campsites. If you want to go off road this is not the vehicle you should consider buying.
Your bus conversion can of course be used all year round. With all the comforts of home including comprehensive insulation, heating, air conditioning, self contained power possibly from a solar system and power hookup capability there really is no need to be restricted by seasonal considerations. Perhaps, and this applies to all recreational vehicles, it may pay off to be aware of extremes such as wind and snow/ice. You are bigger in one of these and consequently will have further to fall!
You can get further information on bus conversions by getting in touch with the manufacturers listed below or by having a look at the various publications available in the shops or online. One that I came across recently is BCM, Bus Conversion Magazine which is published out of 7246 Garden Grove Blvd., Westminster, CA 92683 Phone: 714-520-1784.
Bruce Coach Custom Conversions, 6250 Trans Canada Hwy, Salmon Arm BC V1E 4N3. Tel 250 832 7037
Glaval Corporation, 914 CR 1 Elkhart IN 46514. Tel 574 264 4259
Krystal Enterprises, 2701 E. Imperial Hwy, Brea, CA 92821. Tel 714 986 1200
Motor Coach Industries, 1700 East Golf Road, Schaumburg, IL 60173. Tel 847 285 2000
Prevost, 35 Gagnon Blvd., Sainte-Claire, QC G0R 2V0. Tel 418-883-3391