A quick vacation — one with minimum travel and maximum enjoyment — is best accomplished with preparation, good packing, and simplicity. These vacation do's and don'ts make for a good longer vacation as well, but they are critical for a short trip.

The Journey and the Destination

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Can the journey be the destination? We don't often think of vacation travel as an end in itself. But some methods of vacation travel can be the point of the excursion, like train trips across magnificent landscapes — think the Rocky Mountains by train, or maybe the Trans-Siberian Express for the adventurous. Sailing excursions on the old clipper ships can teach you to hoist a sail, ocean and river cruises can help you explore new landscapes, and paddle wheel river boats are parties on the water. Many of these short vacations can be a day excursion or a weekend.

Some eco-travel and learning vacations can be part of scientific expeditions or explorations. Seeing the glaciers up close on an icebreaker doing scientific research is a completely different experience to seeing the glaciers from the comfort of a cruise ship.

Jet Lag Rules

Take into account the recovery time from jet lag. A trip to China should be remembered for more than lying awake in a hotel room at 3 a.m. To ease jet lag symptoms, go easy on alcohol and caffeine, and drink plenty of water.

Vacationers can learn to look beyond the obvious places to the unique and special vacation destinations closer to home. A trip to the beach in the Bahamas may be out of bounds, but Martha's Vineyard, or a nearby lake might be doable.

If a world-class opportunity drops in your lap, however, and you have a go-bag and a passport, hop on a plane for parts unknown. While good planning is the general rule to avoid vacation disasters, a spontaneous and unplanned adventure can be as refreshing as a snow cone on a hot summer day.

Activities for a Short Vacation

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Temper expectations. Plan in some time relaxing around the pool or water. A morning at a theme park should be followed by an afternoon at the hotel pool, rather than trying to squeeze in one more park. Many vacation destinations have onsite pools, saunas, and beach activities. The best vacation may involve never leaving the hotel.

People in a group don't have to stick together every minute. Families don't have to enjoy the same activities to enjoy the company and the destination. Many couples find that taking a solo vacation is the perfect break. At inclusive resorts or on cruise ships, groups and families can each enjoy their own activities, while still having time together.

Structured activities aren't for everyone. It may be most relaxing to wander the streets of a new city with a camera and no particular destination, rather than taking a guided tour. Simple activities, such as tasting the street food of a new place, can give a different perspective to the tried and true. Many people find that the most rewarding vacations are ones in which they can explore one place well, rather than trying to quickly visit a number of new cities. Careful research before going can alert a visitor to challenges such as to women walking or traveling alone.

Carry-On Luggage and Backpacks

We always pack too much. If a traveler restricts their packing to one carry-on bag or backpack, the scene is set for relaxation. Women can go on a four-day vacation with one maxi skirt, two tee shirts, and a pair of capris or shorts. A swimsuit in summer is usually a good idea. Most of the time, we need a good pair of walking shoes with some lightweight sandals for dinner. Packing too much and for too many activities sets us up for vacation failure.

Limited Days, Limited Dollars

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Vacations may have limits in both time and in finances. A dream vacation put on a credit card may be with you a very long time — and not in a good way. Being able to take advantage of a last-minute opportunity by having passports and travel documents up to date means you can grab your go bag and be out the door and on the way to Capri for the weekend.