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Passport Fee Hike Sparks Travel Worries

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Now that a record 15-million people are applying for passports each year, the State Department is increasing passport fees to help cover production and processing costs. But some fear the hike could hurt families' travel budgets.

William Daroff hopes to whisk his family away from Potomac, Maryland, for a vacation in August.

"We have a couple of options," says Daroff. "It's possible that we'll go to Israel later in the month."

So the family of four visited the post office first thing yesterday, to renew their passports before the fee hike.

An adult passport now costs $135, up from $100. Passports for children 16 and under are now $105, up from $85.

AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman John Townsend says the new fees could deter people from traveling.

"We've estimated that a family of four faces about $500 in passport fees," says Townsend. "So that's going to be a real sticker shock to them."

But William Daroff says frequent international travelers probably won't bat an eye.

"A $1,000 airline ticket is expensive as is," he says. "And so an extra $50 or $100 wouldn't then make that much of a difference."

Still, he suspects some Americans may choose not to renew existing passports, and opt instead for the good old-fashioned road trip.

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