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.)

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