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  • Sarah Harrington

We bought a bus!!

Updated: Jul 6

We just made a purchase. It's a BIG ONE and it's something I can honestly say I never thought we'd buy. Our family just bought a SCHOOL BUS!!


Yes, a big yellow school bus!

Our oldest son, C, is joking with us that when our full size Transit van becomes the smaller vehicle we're in trouble. Hahaha! Why in the world would be buy a bus?!?!?! Well we're going to convert it into an RV. Why choose a bus to travel in? Well several reasons. Let me tell you why…

1- We LOVE to travel. We have 6 kids, ranging from 14 yrs old to 2 yrs old. It's just a fact that big families don't get to travel as much. Travel is expensive and the more people you add the more expensive it gets. I love my big family, but I love to travel too. We now require 2 rooms at any hotel, or a large suite wherever we go. Either way it's not going to be less than $150- $200/night. Even at that it takes forever to find one that has the right configuration of beds- the older boys don't like to sleep together as much anymore. So I spend hours preparing for every trip trying to find a hotel with the right offerings, that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. We often settle for a suite with 3 queen beds (sleeping 6), then a port-a-crib for the baby and we bring a folding camp cot for 1 of the kids to sleep on.

2- We are pretty frugal with eating expenses. We usually find hotels that offer breakfast, then we bring a crate in the van full of picnic lunch items (pb&j, chips, cookies, apples, etc.) I climb in back and make sandwiches while we drive and pass them around. Or we find a spot for a picnic. Then we usually go out for dinner. Taking 8 people out to dinner usually costs at least $100. (Although we recently discovered how inexpensively we can feed our family at Steak n Shake. We can all have a decent meal with milkshakes for $35!!!! That's a serious WIN in my book!) So we plan on $200 for a hotel per night and $100 for food per night. That's $300 per night for the basics. Each night. Without spending a dime on the actual traveling or any entertainment. Of course cooking at home, or in the bus, would be much cheaper.

3- Camping is an option, right? Well, yes, but no. I'm a good sport for a night or two of camping. I really do love the outdoors. Like… a LOT!! But I like air conditioning and showers too.

4- RVs are an option, right? Well, yes. But first of all, it's impossible to find an RV that sleeps 8 people, each with their own bed rather than sharing a fold out dinette. But even if we could find one, RVs are practically death traps. They're made of paper, people! I spend a ridiculous amount of time making sure my family is safe. So I'm not about to pile them all into a box wrapped in cardboard and toothpicks and head off on the open road. No way! Buses are made of STEEL! They're made specifically to transport children so they're built like tanks. By law they have to roll over and protect the occupants.

5- Even with the decreased mileage of a bus we're not that far off from our full size Transit van.

6- We have the skills to do this ourselves. We've been remodeling and flipping houses for the past 18 years. My husband is a contractor by trade and I love love love to plan and remodel. So this is like a mini remodel (or major- we'll see how it ends up :) specifically for traveling. Fun! My hubby has been teaching the older boys how to do what he does. And they are some pretty darn talented boys- for only being 12 and 14 years old.

7- We have a goal to see EVERY ONE of the National Parks in the lower 48 before C leaves on his mission. C is going to be 15 years old in 2 months. So we've got about 3 years to make this happen. Right now he's been to 16 states and some of those were just a drive by or drive through. So we've got a LONG way to go. It's time to up the effort. This bus is our way of doing that. And it's going to be SOOOOO fun!

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