Inspiration

The inspiration for Walking Distance came from the fact that the most important thing about a holiday is the activities you do, yet how to get to them is rarely at the forefront of your mind when booking accommodation. Walking Distance is an accommodation finder that ask what those activities are and finds you a place to stay that's right in the middle of what you want.

How it works

You tell Walking Distance the city you're visiting, the type of activities you'd like to get up to, and the arrival date and duration of your visit. Or if you already know exactly what you want to do, you can tell Walking Distance that too!

Walking Distance then pulls down activities you might like and hotels you might stay in, then calculates how far it is from each hotel to the 5 nearest activities, weighted by their rating. It then returns the 5 hotels with the lowest score, along with the 5 activities nearest to them. Simples!

Challenges I ran into

Getting the whole thing running in a website was a challenge! I'm not a front end developer by any stretch of the imagination, so getting Walking Distance from a python script running in an IDE to running on a website took far longer than I'd like to admit.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

While it was a lot easier for me than the front end part, I'm really happy with how the backend turned out. It's not the most elegant solution in the world, but it runs pretty well, considering the complexity of the task.

What I learned

I'd be exaggerating if I said I've learned how to publish python scripts to the web, but I certainly learned how challenging it could be. And I definitely learned a lot about working under pressure, and what I can manage when I put my mind to it.

What's next for Walking Distance

I'd really like to clean up some of the code - it's very kludgey in places, where I gave up on doing things well and focused on just getting them done. I'd like to experiment with a couple of different APIs to see if I can get a wider range of activities, and also to provide more information on the activities being recommended with each hotel.

A big change I'd like to explore is seeing if I can provide a sales portal - it's supported by the hotelbeds API, but there just wasn't time to get to work on it.

And of course I'd like to get Walking Distance up on the web - I'd thought it might be possible to push live by the end of the day, but it's just not far enough along yet.

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