Air Travel Checklist

In my life, air travel has been a pretty rare occurrence, one or two flights a decade, maybe. That is until my son was old enough to travel; since then, we have visited Disney World twice and multiple US national parks. However, the stress and magnitude of air travel felt by an infrequent traveler have stuck with me.

You might be able to guess what tools I reached for to mitigate travel stress and repeatedly ensure successful trips.


Of course, it is a checklist in Drafts, and of course, it is created with an automation!

As usual, this checklist was created after stumbling through a few hectic flights. With a bit of experience under my belt, I put together the first version.

Of vital importance is the final step, “Update Flight Prep Checklist.” This means that I learn a little more and get a little better with each flight. In practice, I spend a few minutes on the flight updating my flight checklist with whatever I just learned.

Here is the current version:

Prepare for Flight to {{text_variable}}: @area(home) @when({{date:date_variable-7d}}) @due({{date_variable}})
	Week Before:
		- Activate Flightly Pro @when({{date_variable-7d}})
		- Forward Flight Information to Flighty @when({{date_variable-7d}})
		- Verify TSA Pre-Check Information Is on Tickets @when({{date_variable-7d}})
		- Decide on Airport Parking Option @when({{date_variable-7d}})
		- Verify Flight Check-in Reminder Is Set Correctly @when({{date_variable-7d}})
			24 hours before the flight time in the take-off time zone.
		- Establish Airport Departure Timeline With Wife @when({{date_variable-7d}})
		- Download Offline Content for Me @when({{date_variable-3d}})
		- Download Offline Content for Son @when({{date_variable-3d}})
		- Download Offline Content for Wife @when({{date_variable-3d}})
	Day Before:
		- Check-in for Flight @when({{date_variable-1d}}) @due({{date_variable-1d}})
		- Research TSA Pre-Check Location @when({{date_variable-1d}})
		- Verify Offline Content for Me @when({{date_variable-1d}})
		- Verify Offline Content for Son @when({{date_variable-1d}})
		- Verify Offline Content for Wife @when({{date_variable-1d}})
		- Repack my EDC Bag @when({{date_variable-1d}})
		- Have Son Pack a Plane Bag @when({{date_variable-1d}})
			- Reading Book
			- Activity Book
			- iPad
			- Headphones
		- Pack My Back Pack @when({{date_variable-1d}})
			- Notebook
			- Pens
			- iPad
			- AirPods
			- EDC bag
			- Book
			- Hydroflask
		- Charge Devices and External Battery Packs @when({{date_variable-1d}})
	Day of Flight:
		- Take Photo of Parking Spot @when({{date_variable}})
		- Have Son Use the Bathroom Before the Flight @when({{date_variable}}) @due({{date_variable}})
		- Have Son Use the Bathroom on the Flight @when({{date_variable}}) @due({{date_variable}})
	After Flight:
		- Update Flight Prep Checklist @when({{date_variable}})
		- Deactivate Flightly Pro? @when({{date_variable+7d}})


While the checklist is edited and stored for future use in Drafts, each actionable use is stored in Things. I use two actions to add the flight details and move the information from Drafts to Things.

Mustache Prompt for Drafts

The checklist is written in Taskpaper but uses a templating system to fill in the variables called Mustache.

I use a Drafts action called Mustache Prompt for Drafts to prompt me for the flight destination and date. This action takes my answers to the prompts and duplicates my draft checklist but fills in the variables with my prompt responses. This keeps my original checklist in place for future editing and use while giving me a copy for this trip.

Things Parser 3 for Drafts

The next step is to move this trip’s checklist into Things. This way, I get the reminders and tracking afforded by Things, but with the templating benefits of Drafts.

Fortunately, the creator of Mustache Prompt for Drafts made Things Parser 3 for Drafts.

With one double click, the information is transferred to Things!


As I have written previously, I find checklists to be helpful ways of dealing with complexity/stress in my life. Not only in the moment of use, but also in the thought and reflection required to create them.

By thinking ahead, I avoid compromising in the heat of the moment or not having enough time to solve a problem. By creating a checklist and automation, I get the think less and still enjoy the benefits of my previous experience.

This flight prep checklist helps me prepare myself and my family for success in a high-pressure situation. I hope this post inspires you to do something similar.

Do you have any flight prep checklist suggestions that I should add? Leave a comment below and let me know about it!

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