Summer is the time of year when many Americans choose to spend time with friends and family, explore new places and have fun in the sun. But with travel costs up during peak season, you may find yourself compromising your vacation plans. Fret not. These travel tips make it easier to cut costs when you're away from home.

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1. Consider Rail Travel

If you're wary of skyrocketing airplane fees and cruise ship safety, you might prefer seeing the world by train. Rail vacations tend to be all-inclusive, and you could save on tickets and service fees with your AARP® membership.

2. Book a Vacation Rental

Hotel taxes add up, but you can avoid paying them – and live like a local – when you find the right vacation home. Just watch out for scams.

3. Save on Restaurant Deals

Dining out can be expensive, especially with a large group. But with new AARP member discounts, you could save 10 percent on your entire check. Members can view all AARP dining and entertainment offers here.

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4. Pack Pinky Balls

Yes, the classic high-bounce toys, otherwise known as Spaldeens. AARP Travel Ambassador Samantha Brown takes them wherever she goes to save money on massage therapy. See how she does it.

5. Bring an Extra Pair of Shoes

It's common to need a new pair of shoes while traveling. Save yourself time and money with a backup pair of flexible, versatile running shoes. They'll come in handy for workouts and casual strolls long after summer ends.

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6. Think Outside the Box

If you don't mind iffy weather and fewer entertainment options, travel to places where summer is the off-season (think Arizona or Mexico). You could save on luxury hotels and activities. Get unique vacation ideas.

7. Protection for Your Money

You're taking the time to save money, so why not protect it? You can protect yourself with AARP® Credit and Identity Theft Protection from TrustedID®.