Are there any good alternatives?
Like others here, i use tea boats and saucers, and a waste water bucket.
I don't like the bamboo tea trays - i have never had one of the very expensive ones from Taiwan, but several of the Chinese ones. Most of them, when i did not use them for some time, began leaking.
I think using saucers and tea boats is a lot more aesthetically pleasing. A tea boat has also the added advantage of keeping the temperature up during the short infusion times in very small pots.
There endless possibilities for a set up - i use some very old ming or song bowls as a tea boat, and qing blue and white plates of different sizes as a plate/saucer for my cups. I have different vessels i use as a wastewater bucket - the nicest one are village style bowls of rough clay with a green rice glazing which were used here in Thailand until a few decades ago to store fermented fish, made by village crafts men.
I have seen others use old Yixing clay plates to hold the cups (they are nowadays quite expensive though).
For my tiniest and pocketable traveling set ( viewtopic.php?p=231768
) i use an old tin saucer to hold the cups. I recently found another tin saucer to replace to fragile porcelain saucer i use as a teaboat.
My tea teacher is very particular about the saucers, plates and tea boats he uses as the material and age of the material can influence the taste of the tea as well (my taste buds are not so far developed, yet when he showed me, and i concentrated, i could taste the difference - very slight though). Consequently - he rejects these bamboo trays.
Anyhow - the possibilities of combining different vessels is almost endless, especially as also things not originally made for tea can be converted as well.