I've just returned from three weeks in Europe, where I took an obscene number of pictures in dark places with my Nikon D70 . Lugging a tripod around while traveling is a pretty unattractive prospect, especially when the lightweight alternatives cost $500 and up. And you still need the ball head, and then the whole thing really isn't all that lightweight anymore.
Thankfully, before I left, a sales rep at Calumet Photo introduced me to the Gorillapod by Joby. I got the heavy duty model which screws right into the camera base, and can hold over 6 pounds of weight clamped onto the marble railing of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, or the back of a pew chair in the Église Saint Germain des Prés, so I could hold up my 200 mm lens with no problem and no ball head.
La GuerillaPod in Trikonasana
In some places I visited photography is, shall we say, discouraged, so I appreciated being able to set up a shot without attracting a lot of attention to myself, and then renamed my new tool La GuerillaPod.
The only downside to this gadget is that it can "bounce" a little, so a remote control is a nice addition. (on my older camera, I had a cable release, but Nikon did not make one for the D70)
Other mini tripods, such as those offered by Giottos, are also quite useful, especially the super slick E.Pod , but these cannot take the weight of a telephoto lens.
I will be posting the results of my expedition soon.