When I was in Victoria last fall, I couldn't find the ideal tripod for travel purposes, and ended up picking up an inexpensive Slik travel tripod, complete with built in ball head and mini-quick release plates. It was adequate and I got some lovely shots thanks to that tripod. The head though was the problem, especially for vertical shots. I normally use an L bracket from Really Right Stuff for my 5D2, so what I've done is order the smallest lever release head from the same company and will place that on this super light tripod. It's aluminum but reasonably sturdy and tall enough for travel purposes.
The big thing with a travel pod is it's nice if it can go on your backpack, which theoretically huge tripods can do, but in practice don't very well. Also, it needs to fit inside luggage when flying, and there are times a tripod that doesn't tie up both hands to carry is very nice.
Some might wonder 'why even bother with a tripod', especially with modern cameras great high ISO Imaging. For me the reasons are:
1) to be able to stop down for max. depth of field
2) shoot under marginal light - often more interesting light
3) to make blended images for incredible depth of field using Helicon Focus
4) blended exposures for HDR without the worry of misalignment of images.
These justify lugging a tripod, and if it can be a small light one without too much compromise, well all the better.
Let you know how the new combo works when I return.