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Renting an apartment can be the most convenient and least expensive way to visit a city, especially for stays of more than a few days. Not only are the per-night rates often cheaper than at a hotel—a one-bedroom flat with a pull-out bed in the living room provides the space of two hotel rooms at less cost—but you can also economize by cooking for yourself. And let's not forget amenities like a washer/dryer. Best of all, you can pretend for a week or two that you're a native of a new place.

Apartment-rental companies come in all stripes, from exclusive boutique agencies where the agent deals directly with the apartment owner and has personally inspected all the offerings, to brokerages that list thousands of apartments. Here's a sampling of rates in some major cities. (Many of the companies have listings in a wide range of cities beyond those mentioned here; for other companies, consult a travel agent.)

CITY RENTAL AGENCY WEEKLY RATE STUDIO WEEKLY RATE ONE BEDROOM 7 NIGHTS IN A BUSINESS HOTEL**
Amsterdam Barclay International (800/845-6636 or 212/832-3777) $945 $1,190 $1,635
London In the English Manner (800/422-0799) $900 $900 $2,121
New York Manhattan East Suite Hotels (800/637-8483) $1,250* $1,465* $1,848*
Paris The French Experience (212/986-1115) $730 $975 $1,855
Rome Homebase Abroad (617/965-9847) $950 $1,000 $1,530
Tokyo Crystal Village (81-3/3388-7625) $400* $526* $2,055*
Toronto Keith Prowse Expotel $536 $693 $1,040

* Tax not included
**Average price
Source: Runzheimer International

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