There are tripods and there are travel tripods. The difference comes down to weight and size. How much weight are you willing to carry while traveling how large is the gear you can stuff in your bag. Many factors influence the choice of a travel tripod. Click on this link for an excellent discussion of travel tripods and a review of twelve recommended models.
Tripod Is Essential for Image Quality
Carrying and using a tripod marks you as a serious or professional photographer. It can usually be set up wherever needed and assures the highest possible image quality. It also slows you down and requires time for set up. A tripod also makes you think more carefully about subject, composition, focus and everything that goes into making an exceptional photograph.
As the article in the above link states, “There is no other photographic equipment that will elevate the technical quality of your pictures more easily or predictably. . .Any serious enthusiast who places a high value on image quality should take one along—especially when shooting at slow shutter speeds, in low light, or with long telephoto or zoom lenses.”
Tripod Can’t Always Be Used
But in reality, carrying and using a tripod is not always practical or even possible. Tripod use is forbidden in many travel locations. There may not be time to unpack and set up a tripod without annoying travel companions. And there will be times when you simply don’t have your tripod or prefer not to carry it.
When you need reliable camera stabilization and no tripod is available, a tripod alternative is the logical solution. It is small, light, easy to carry and can be used where tripods are prohibited. The limitation is that a tripod alternative must be placed on a support object or on the ground. It can’t raise the camera to eye level in any location like a tripod. But in the absence of a tripod or the inability to use one, a tripod alternative like HandlePod will get the job done with a minimum of weight and bulk.