Much like short school buses, shuttle buses are a popular option for van life camper conversions. Also called minibuses, shuttle buses are commercial vehicles used to transport large groups of people. They pair a large fiberglass body with the cab of vans like the Ford Econoline, Chevy Express, or Ford Transit. Once they’re ready to be retired, you can pick them up at affordable prices.

The interior of a shuttle bus is a big reason people choose them for full time van life. Shuttle buses feature a wide and long interior larger than most vans, with enough clearance for even tall people to stand. The large footprint also creates more space on the roof for solar panels, awnings, and vent fans. Minibuses typically have a long row of windows that bring in tons of natural light. 

There are some downsides as well. Shuttle buses aren’t the simplest vehicles to maintain. Because they aren’t as common on the road, you may have difficulty finding a mechanic to work on them. In addition, a trade-off of the large size is that they are harder to park and maneuver and are less fuel-efficient than other camper options.

Once you weigh the pros and cons, you may decide that a shuttle bus camper conversion is for you. To help you plan your build, we have gathered some of our favorite shuttle bus conversions. From budget builds to cool and unique designs, check out some inventive ideas from the shuttle bus conversions below. 

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1. This shuttle bus conversion with a hidden shower from @sydneyskoolie

@sydneyskoolie minibus conversion interior
Photo by @sydneyskoolie

Sydney converted a 2016 Ford E-450 shuttle bus for van life travel with her cat. The pair downsized from a 40-foot school bus conversion because she wanted something easier to maneuver on washboard roads.

Her shuttle bus conversion has a 6’2″ interior clearance, providing a roomy living space. Sydney kept most of the original windows, which provide natural light and allow her to maintain plants in the vehicle. There was already an overhead storage box in the cab that she transformed into a library.

@sydneyskoolie minibus conversion exterior with horn hood ornament
Photo by @sydneyskoolie

There is a dinette behind the entryway. The shuttle bus has another set of doors behind the entry, so Sydney can open them up while sitting at the dinette to enjoy the fresh air and the view.

The kitchen includes a full range, a fridge/freezer combo, and a sink and faucet. Removing one of the countertops reveals a hidden walk-in shower. Sydney hooks a PVC pipe with a shower curtain to the ceiling to transform the space for showering.

For her vanlife electrical system, Sydney has a 200-amp-hour lithium-ion battery inside the vehicle and 550 watts of solar on the roof.

2. This shuttle bus converted for under $10K from @growingslowandwild 

@growingslowandwild shuttle bus camper conversion cozy interior with a bed next to a closed window
Photo by @growingslowandwild

Van lifers Fiorella and Zach converted their 2003 Ford E-450 shuttle bus into a comfortable home for under $10,000. The layout includes a dinette, kitchen, full bathroom, and bedroom. They kept costs down with the build by using many pieces that were thrifted or repurposed.

Fiorella and Zach have a full bathroom inside the bus, with composting toilet and shower, located behind a sliding barn door. A PVC pipe solar shower on the roof gravity feeds water to their indoor shower. This simple shower system doesn’t require a pump or a water heater. 

@growingslowandwild bus conversion with dinette, couple sitting inside enjoying each other's company
Photo by @growingslowandwild

There is a full-size camper van bed fitted width-wise at the back of the vehicle. The bedroom includes plenty of storage underneath, a bookcase for books, and space to display smaller items the couple collects on their travels.

There are four 100-watt solar panels on the roof. Inside, there are two 100-amp-hour gel batteries and a 40-amp charger controller.

3. This shuttle bus camper build with a mudroom from @wanderbooming

@wanderbooming bed and kitchen inside Eric and Robbyn's shuttle bus conversion
Still from a video by Wander boom

Eric and Robbyn are a retired couple that converted a 2005 Ford E-350 shuttle bus into a mobile home and travel in. Eric is a carpenter, so he built all of the cabinetry and countertops, giving their shuttle bus conversion a warm and earthy atmosphere.

The kitchen extends on both sides of the bus, giving them plenty of counter space. There is a stove that is stored when not in use and a top-load fridge/freezer combo on drawer slides.

@wanderbooming smiling couple taking a selfie in the snow
Photo by @wanderbooming

One of the unique things about this build is that Eric and Robyn created a separate mudroom space in the bus entryway. Right past the driver’s seat, there is a small hallway that partitions off from the rest of the vehicle with a curtain.

The bathroom is in the hallway, with a composting toilet and a clothes closet. Eric created a smart solution for the composting toilet using a drill attachment rather than a hand crank, making it much easier for them to maintain while on the road.

4. This converted shuttle bus with a recirculating shower from Deeanna

Deeanna's shuttle bus conversion, inside is a raised queen-sized bed next to a closet and kitchen
Still from a video by Bustle

Deeanna converted a shuttle bus herself for full-time van life with her dog. Her mobile tiny house build includes fantastic features for everyday living, and she fits a living room, kitchen, closet, and bathroom into the vehicle while accommodating a queen-size bed.

Behind the driver’s seat, Deeanna has a living room that doubles as a workspace, with a couch, a table, and a computer monitor.

The kitchen has a range with a cover, a top-load 12V fridge/freezer stored in a pull-out drawer, and a lot of cabinet space for cookware.

Deeanna looking and talking to the camera while sitting inside her minibus tiny home
Still from a video by Bustle

 A small hallway near the back provides access to a closet and a bathroom. The closet holds hanging clothes, shoes, and dirty laundry. The bathroom has a composting toilet and a recirculating shower that allows Deanna to use only 12 gallons of water for showering every week!

 The bed is raised and fixed width-wise at the back of the bus. There is a small step that helps Deeanna climb up onto the bed, with the step doubling as storage. The bed is queen-sized, with overhead cabinets on one side.

5. This extended wheelbase shuttle bus conversion from @thesolbus

@thesolbus Stephanie and Sara's spacious and homey kitchen and living room, shuttle bus conversion interior
Photo by @thesolbus 

Stephanie and Sara converted a 2003 Ford E-550 extended shuttle bus into a sweet rolling mobile home. Because their vehicle has an extended wheelbase, this bus has more living space than most shuttle bus campers.

They have a large living room and kitchen space with a long bench seat along one side of the bus and kitchen counters on the opposite side. The benches extend to create a guest bed, and they have plenty of storage for tools, lithium batteries, and electrical components.

@thesolbus Stephanie and Sara showing their shuttle bus conversion with white and black exterior paint
Still from a video by Tiny Home Tours

The bus has air doors on the passenger side behind the cab, which allowed the pair to seal off the cab from the living space with a bulkhead wall and door while still having another entrance that provides natural light and airflow.

The back door leads out to a deck attached to the bus’s frame, giving Stephanie and Sara a permanent outdoor space they can access from their bedroom.

The vehicle runs off a 24-volt electrical system. There are 800 watts of solar panels, a 3000-watt inverter, and a 40-amp charger controller.

6. This converted shuttle bus with a home office from @nomad_brad_503

@nomad_brad_503 shuttle bus conversion interior
Photo by @nomad_brad_503

Brad’s 2004 Ford E-450 shuttle bus conversion has many cool features that make working on the road much more comfortable.

A long computer desk behind the driver’s seat serves as Brad’s primary workspace. He can fit a computer chair in this area, and a nearby window allows him to open it up to enjoy the view from where he is parked.

@nomad_brad_503 Brad holding an umbrella while standing on the roof of his minibus camper, parked on the side of a road
Photo by @nomad_brad_503

The bus has two doors on the passenger side: traditional bus doors by the front and another door at the back of the bus. The back door allows Brad to access the garage storage space he created under the bed.

The bed is full-size, positioned width-wise at the back of the bus. Partitions on both sides of the bedroom make it feel like a separate space without completely sealing it off.

The electrical system consists of a 2000-watt inverter, a 200-amp-hour battery, and a 320-watt solar panel.

7. This well-designed shuttle bus conversion from @skoolievibes

Stephanie converted her 2007 Chevrolet Duramax shuttle bus camper for part-time van life travel with the intention of going full-time down the road. She has a background in interior design, which shows in the little details included in this build, like in the accents and color choices of the bus.

A wall separates the cab from the rest of the mobile home, and a butcher block door allows access between the two spaces. The door has a regular doorknob, a lock, and a deadbolt, providing security and temperature control. Cameras and external sensors provide additional security.

@skoolievibes Stephanie showing her transport bus conversion with desert tan color exterior
Still from a video by Tiny Home Tours

A full-size raised bed platform is fixed width-wise at the back of the bus camper. Stephanie had a Maxxair fan installed above it for air circulation. She also has a headboard that doubles as storage for her dirty laundry.

8. This family-friendly shuttle bus conversion from @offgriddesign

@offgriddesign Skylar showing their shuttle bus conversion full height closet
Still from a video by Tiny Home Tours

Skylar and Ashley turned a shuttle bus into a camper to take trips in with their family. Many of their furniture, like the counters and cabinets, were pre-made and bolted into the van – which is an excellent option for people looking to do a faster build.

To make this build family-friendly, Skylar and Ashley fit an extra seat with a seat belt and an additional bed. Over the main full-size bed, there is a lofted child’s bed.

@offgriddesign Skylar and Ashley standing next to their tiny home, shuttle bus conversion with white exterior
Still from a video by Tiny Home Tours

A functional kitchen was essential to them, so there is a long countertop and kitchen space behind the driver’s seat, with a built-in 4-burner cooktop and a toaster oven.

Across from the kitchen is a bench seat that stores a cassette toilet. Skylar and Ashley opted for a unique closet solution, using collapsible cubbies stored in the bench seat when not in use. They can hang the cubbies from the ceiling above the bench to store clothing.

9. This shuttle bus camper build with six rooms from @alejaodyssey

@alejaodyssey Aleja sitting comfortably in an L-shaped sofa with a laptop on her lap inside shuttle bus conversion living room next to a bed and a bathroom
Photo by @alejaodyssey

Aleja and Kenan built out a shuttle bus to save money and live in debt-free. Their shuttle bus camper has six rooms and a unique layout that comfortably accommodates the couple and their cat, Oreo. There is a cab, kitchen, living room, bedroom, bathroom, and garage.

They modified the door so that it opens outward in one piece. When they enter the cab, there is a coat hanger, bulkhead storage, and Oreo’s litter box. The kitchen has a camp stove and a sink with a foot pump.

@alejaodyssey Aleja and Kenan looking at the camera, taking a selfie near their minibus camper
Photo by @alejaodyssey

In the living room is a desk taken over by Oreo, with a play area and sleeping pad. The couple primarily works from a foldable table on the L-shaped sofa, which converts into a bed that can sleep two guests.

The bedroom is in the back of their tiny-house-on-wheels, fixed length-wise beside the emergency doors. Because the bed is length-wise, there is room beside it for the bathroom. The bathroom has a portable toilet and a shower. 

10. This comfy shuttle bus conversion from @thegloriaceleste

@thegloriaceleste charming shuttle bus conversion with white and soft neutral color theme interior
Photo by @thegloriaceleste

Gloria turned a shuttle bus into her own tiny home with many design choices to make the space gorgeous and comfortable for everyday living. The build and lifestyle inspired her to start her own van conversion business.

There is a privacy curtain that separates the cab from the living space. The bathroom is behind the driver’s seat and includes a shower and a bucket with a toilet seat for emergencies.

@thegloriaceleste Gloria smiling at the camera while standing in the doorway of her minibus rv
Photo by @thegloriaceleste

The kitchen has a large top-load refrigerator, a camp stove, a deep sink, and a trash bin. Beyond the kitchen counter is a pony wall separating the kitchen from the bedroom. The wall includes a small storage space for a folding table. Across from the kitchen is a bench seat where Gloria spends time during the day.

The bed is fixed width-wise at the bed of the bus. The bedroom has a headboard with laundry storage, reading lights, a large window that opens out, and a projector screen for watching movies at night.

11. This thrifty shuttle bus conversion from Carmen and Xaver

Carmen and Xaver's well-furnished shuttle bus conversion interior
Still from a video by Tiny House Expedition

Carmen and Xaver built out a 2001 Ford E-450 shuttle bus into a rolling tiny home for off-grid living. They kept their build pretty simple, opting to install furniture they already owned or bought secondhand for an affordable, simple DIY build.

Rather than purchasing cabinets for the kitchen, Carmen opted to repurpose a dresser that she bought secondhand by adding a hand pump faucet and a bowl that acts as a sink. Across from the kitchen counter is a small table the couple brought from their previous home.

Carmen and Xaver standing next to their tiny home, giving a tour of their shuttle bus rv conversion
Still from a video by Tiny House Expedition

There are a couple of long sofas beyond the kitchen. They are positioned on either side of the bus and framed with copper. During the day, the space can comfortably seat a group of people, and once Carmen and Xaver figure out how they will install a large table into the space, it can also become a larger dining area. At night, the sofas convert into their bed.

The bathroom at the back of the bus includes a homemade toilet solution made from a Luggable Loo and a dining chair. Across from the toilet is storage space that the couple plans to convert into a shower.

12. This shuttle bus camper conversion with 1400 watts of solar from @ourwaytoroam 

@ourwaytoroam shuttle bus van build with warm tone interior
Photo by @ourwaytoroam

Savannah and Drew built out a Ford E-450 shuttle bus to live and travel in full-time. Their converted shuttle bus has a heftier electrical system than most builds, with 1400 watts of solar on the roof.

There are seven solar panels in total, with five permanently fixed to the roof and two that slide out over the cab when the bus is parked. The system includes a 3000-watt inverter and 600-amp-hours of lithium batteries.

The bathroom is behind the driver’s seat and features a shower and a cassette toilet. Savannah and Drew chose a vivid blue tile for the back wall of the shower, adding a pop of color to the space.

@ourwaytoroam Savannah and Drew sitting on a rock in a desert, enjoying their shuttle bus conversion van life
Photo by @ourwaytoroam

At the back of the bus is a full-size bed fixed across the width. The bed frame is on hinges and struts, providing access to the garage from inside the living space. Beside the bed is a closet with sliding doors with room to store plenty of clothes.

The young couple has a projector screen that mounts magnetically to several places in the bus, including in front of the closet, so they can watch movies in bed.

Build Your Van


The Ultimate Van Build Guide

Planning a van build? Read our free guide. We cover just about everything you need to know – from planning, to insulation, to solar and electrical, to picking appliances, to essential tools. Get started today so you can get out there on the road!

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