Dragging around a huge and heavy suitcase makes travel feel less of a pleasure and more of a chore. Carrying a backpack that weighs too much is exhausting. It doesn't matter how long you're going away for. Let's face it, you probably don't need half of the stuff you're packing! Many people fall into the trap of taking things "just in case". They end up with baggage filled to the limits, that barely closes, looks ridiculous and is a nightmare to transport. They may even end up paying for oversized baggage, desperate to keep everything they think they need for the trip. Are you one of them? How about travelling light and ending the frustration?
Everyone has their own preferred way of travel, but when it becomes a pain in the back, it's time for a change. Why not do yourself a favour and try to pack light (or at least lighter! ) the next time you're going away? It will save you a lot of hustle and stress. It will make travel much more pleasant. It's possible, especially if you're not carrying camping gear such as tent and a folding chair. Or a camera, tripod and five telephoto camera lenses, in which case you're probably a pro on a work cum holiday trip and can afford to travel with a personal porter. I promise that, once you hit the road, you will feel the difference and be thankful to yourself for having made the right choice. I travel for months non-stop with less than 10 kilograms on my back. I learned the hard way, save yourself the trouble! Hopefully you will find my advice useful.
Downsize your bag
It's a trick that always works. Pick a smaller bag, you won't be able to fit too much inside. Better yet, opt for a backpack, a great solution especially for independent travellers. It's not only more convenient to travel with, leaving your hands free, but it will prevent you from taking heavy items you don't need. You do care about your back, don't you? Speaking from my own experience, 50 liters is the maximum capacity you need. If you'd rather stick to a holdall or a duffel bag, aim for in-flight carry-on baggage size and only upgrade if you absolutely have to.
Make a list
Everything slows down when you can't wait for that long planned trip to begin. You may as well use the extra time and prepare in advance. Stop killing time on facebook and make a list. Include everything: clothes, toiletries, underwear, food, electronics etc. Think about what you will really need, eliminate what you won't.
Slash the list in half
It's not as difficult as it seems. Don't panic, I'm here to guide you. You need to pick the most important items and pack accordingly for the trip. No smart clothing for a muddy adventure unless you're attending a fashion show by the campfire. And, there's no point in dragging steel shank hiking boots for a relaxing beach holiday, is there? Choose clothes that go with each other. You may or may not have access to a washing machine, so it's better to leave the light coloured clothes at home. Take weather under your consideration. If you're not sure what to expect, you can check the destination's forecast archives online. And, lastly, forget the extra pairs of whatever it is you think you may possibly need, unless you are certain you will use them. Reduce the number of items on your list to a minimum.
Alternatively, if you're more of a visual person, instead of making a list, put everything you want to pack on the bed. Then, pick half of that stuff. Only the most important and useful items. "Just in case" is not enough of a reason to take something. Unless you are heading off to an inhabited island and my bet is that you're not.
Switch from books to eBooks if you can. I once carried a massive guide to India with me for six months. I later checked its weight, it turned out to be as heavy as 1 kg, a lot for a book. To give you an idea, it weighed more than three tops, bikini and a pair of flip-flops. Now I have the travel guide easily accessible in my tablet and it only "weights" 40 MB. Speaking of which ...
Take a tablet or your smartphone instead of a laptop. You can use Internet, GPS, basic photo editing apps, read, write, watch videos ... Technology is here to help. Believe it or not, I don't even miss the keyboard or better screen resolution anymore.
Consider getting a light microfiber towel. It weighs close to nothing and takes very little space. I'm not into fancy travel gear and gadgets but I got it before a long trip and fell in love with it. It dries very fast, even in highly humid conditions and during the monsoon season, when regular towels stay wet or get damp.