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Boston? There’s an app for that

Shanghai’s world’s fair — China’s first — focuses on the theme “Better City, Better Life.’’ Shanghai’s world’s fair — China’s first — focuses on the theme “Better City, Better Life.’’
April 25, 2010

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You can stand in line to get tickets for a trolley tour, whale watch, or museum visit. Or you can power up your iPhone, buy tickets with a few clicks, then flash the confirmation page on your phone to get in the door. The Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau has released the BostonUSA app, a 99-cent electronic application that lets you purchase tickets for tours and attractions, search for current events and activities, and track down deals without leaving your home or hotel room. Thanks to the GPS-based Map It function, you can easily find your way to each venue or point of interest. 888-733-2678, www.bostonusa.com

Rewards of volunteering
Volunteer with a charitable group or humanitarian organization and you can earn travel discounts and other benefits. Purchase a Volunteer ID Card for $29.95 (with color photo) or $25 (without) and receive savings at more than 40,000 US restaurants, low-cost air and train fares, and discounts on accommodations and car rentals. Travel over 700 miles from Sydney to Melbourne aboard the Great Southern Rail, for instance, and you’ll pay $176 instead of the regular $368 fare. The card gives you worldwide travel assistance 24/7, low-cost travel insurance, and discounts on international calling cards and travel products. 800-255-7000, www.volunteeridcard.com

Shanghai world’s fair
With more than half the world’s population reportedly living in urban settings, this year’s world’s fair in Shanghai focuses on the theme “Better City, Better Life.’’ For 184 days, from May 1-Oct. 31, Expo 2010 Shanghai features exhibits by 242 countries and international organizations during what will probably be the largest world’s fair in history. Up to 70 million visitors are expected to attend. Fairgoers can see light shows, parades, martial arts events, shadow puppet and Cirque du Soleil performances, and other dazzling shows, and explore futuristic or green-themed exhibits. 800-670-2228, en.expo2010.cn

KARI BODNARCHUK