At home I use an AirPort Extreme as my firewall / access point / all of that, with a few ports forwarded through to access some services I have running on a small box at my house (among them SSH access to mange things). I ran into a situation while traveling where I wanted to make a couple of changes to the port forwarding configuration, but did not have the option to "Allow setup over WAN", and also have no desire to enable this. I've always had home routers that have some web GUI, so I just used SSH port forwarding and hit the web interface in my browser. As it turns out, it's not a lot more difficult with an AirPort Extreme, and still lets me leave the AirPort mangement port not to be exposed to the Internet. In my situation, I have my MacBook along and have a Linux machine at home that I access via SSH.
The AirPort Utility communicates with the AirPort via TCP port 5009. You can setup a port forward with something like:
ssh -L 5009:172.16.0.1:5009 home.mydomain.com
Of course, you'll want to change your internal IP address (172.16.0.1 in my case) to whatever the internal IP is for your AirPort and then change the SSH hostname to whatever you use. If you don't know the IP of your AirPort and have a fairly typical router, you can use 'route' on Linux or Mac systems to find the IP of your default gateway. For most people, this will be the IP of their AirPort.
Leave the above SSH session open in the background and launch the AirPort Utility on your Mac. When you launch the Utility, it will probably not find one (unless you happen to be on another network with an AirPort). Go to File -> Configure Other. In the pop-up, enter "localhost" in the Address field, and your password into the Password field. You should then be able to manage the AirPort via the utility. Note that as usual any changes you save to the AirPort will trigger a reboot and probably cut off the connection you established above. You will likely have to restart the tunnel after each time the box reboots.