No one likes hauling heavy luggage, hoisting oversize suitcases, or dealing with an overstuffed duffel bag when traveling. If you're dealing with arthritis, too, this heavy lifting can set off a painful flare-up.

Obviously you want to have everything you need when you reach your destination. What's the solution? Pack light. Here's how:

  • Start with the bag itself. Forget the heavy, hard-sided luggage that can tax your joints, even when it's empty. Select something light but sturdy. Think space-age materials like polycarbonate. And, of course, look for models with wheels that you can push or pull instead of carrying.
  • Call ahead. If you'll be staying in a hotel, call first to see what amenities they have. Most offer basic toiletries, hair dryers, and irons. If they do, leave yours at home. If the hotel also offers on-site laundry or dry cleaning, you may be able to pack fewer clothes.
  • Coordinate your wardrobe. Lighten your load by choosing clothes that mix and match so you can create several outfits from just a few pieces. You may be able to use the same shoes and accessories with each outfit.
  • Dress for the trip. If you plan to bring a coat or other heavy clothes, don't pack them—wear them. Or dress in layers to minimize how much you'll have to put in your bag. Layers can come off or go back on as the temperature fluctuates on your trip.
  • Think small. Purchase travel-size bottles of toiletries you need to take. Alternately, transfer some from larger bottles into smaller ones and take only what you'll need.