Even if you’re an experienced business traveler, there are a few little things you can do to make your next travel experience more expedient, efficient, and economical. Based on our own experiences, as well as those of some of our customers, these are a few travel hacks you can do to save money, time, and your sanity.

Pay premium for the direct flight. The old axiom is true: time is money. And if you’re a business traveler, you’re losing money while you’re in transit, which means you need to find a way to shorten that time. Traveling more legs than necessary just to save money actually decreases your productivity, which costs you more money in the long run.
You can negotiate with your car rental provider on a business travel trip
Every segment you add to a flight also increases the risk of delay or cancellation, which costs time as well as energy. Plus, those who book full-fare tickets, even if they’re in economy, are more likely to get an upgrade if it’s available because the gate agent will know the price you paid by a code on the ticket. Remember, if you get to your destination sooner, you can start working sooner.

Negotiate with car rental agencies. Did you even know you could do this? According to some of our experienced business travelers, you can. While premium cars are more expensive, rental agents may be willing to negotiate if there are available cars in this category, and if they’re not pressed for time with lots of customers behind you.

Be sure to ask for an upgrade if you’re entertaining clients, because a larger car is easier for everyone to use. When the agent offers a price, ask if they could do better. They may have a coupon behind the counter or a special promotional code they’re allowed to use. Also, a quick Google search for “[AGENCY] promo code” on your mobile phone may turn up something helpful.

Book your hotel directly on the hotel’s website. Yes, you may save a few dollars if you use a discount site, but loyalty speaks volumes. You also earn points by booking direct, which translates into free stays later. You’re also more likely to get room upgrades if you’re a top loyalty member.

Also consider AirBnB as an option if you want to save money, but choose a place closer to your desired locations. Then, in addition to experiencing the comforts of home, you might save money and earn frequent flier miles through a recent deal Delta inked with the lodging property site.

Creature comforts matter. There are little things that experienced travelers have learned to help them cope with the discomforts of cramped seats and long days en route.

One traveler suggested ordering a special meal when booked on a long flight. You’ll always get served first, and then you can settle in for the duration. Another suggested packing a tennis ball for working out stiffness after a flight. You can roll it under your feet or use it to alleviate a knot in your back by positioning it between your body and a wall. It doesn’t require electricity and is easy to replace.

Finally, ask for upgrades, or spring for little ones. If you’re flying coach, upgrade to economy plus. You get a few more inches of legroom, and that can make all the difference on a six hour flight. And when you get to your hotel, ask for a corner room. Those tend to be a bit bigger and they’re far enough away from the elevator to avoid all the noise.

Travel is taxing, but it doesn’t have to be painful. With a little confidence and a few extra dollars, you can get to where you’re going faster, and in more comfort.

What are some of your best travel techniques to save you time or money? Tell us about it in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Atomic Taco (Flickr, Creative Commons)