I find that it is very rare for me to want highlighting at all and when I need highlighting it is just for a brief moment. My solution is
nnoremap <Leader>/ set hls!<CR>
This enables highlighting when you press \/ and disables it again if you press again. This gives easy access to highlighting in the rare cases when you need it.
This has the advantage that you do not have to type it exaclty. The disadvantage is, that there is a about 1:68719476736 chance in a 4096 byte file that this does not work and your cursor will jump to a different place. This chance increases for larger files.