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I made a huge mistake. I haven't applied for a passport in 20 years, and I haven't flown on a plane since before 9/11, so I guess I didn't really understand how complicated traveling is these days.

My wife and I need to obtain passports for a foreign vacation. Our flight leaves on Oct. 24. The State Department says it takes four to six weeks to receive the passport. If I pay the expediting fee, it will cost me more than $180 extra, which would make the trip more expensive than we can afford right now.

My question:

Does it really take four to six weeks? And is there anything I can do, outside of forking over another $87.30 per person, to speed up the process?

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