When I hit the road, I take way too much crap. Suitcase, camera bag, walking camera bag, laptop, peripherals, emergency supplies, tools, grab bag, spare water, spare gas, books, CDs, souvenir-storage solution — it all comes along. I have to rent a small SUV and jury-rig a shelf unit in the back. But when you've got a deadline looming and need to cover four dozen sights in 12 days, you've got to be ready for every eventuality.
For the recreational road trip, one need suffer neither the anxiety nor the cumbrous cargo. In fact, with a little thoughtful culling, you might be surprised how little you actually need on the road. And packed carefully, you can probably dump that roof rack and still have extra space for all the shot glasses and lacquered alligator heads you plan to buy.
NPR recently interviewed Doug Dyment, webmaster of One Bag, on just that subject, unfolding some tips on how to load your luggage while losing the baggage. His Web site, focused on the "art and science of travelling light," aims to help you, as the title suggests, to travel with no more than one bag by offering advice on three key topics: what to pack, what to pack it in and how to pack it.
As a bonus, you might also check out The Every Day Carry Forums, where users trade tips on consolidating those day-to-day items that weigh down our pockets and go bags. They also have a forum reserved specifically for travel-related concerns.