So it was time for a little improvisation. Pen? Too thick. SkyMall magazine? Entertaining, but no (do people actually buy that stuff?). The only thing I had that was remotely stiff and pointy was a key ring. Since it seemed like such a terrible idea, naturally I tried it out. And it was actually pretty sweet--faster than a conventional cable needle and much more convenient for travel. I wanted to share in case there were other tight knitters out there looking for cable needle alternatives.
Therefore, I present to you:
Something in between cabling with a needle and cabling without a needle (working title)
I think I'm going to call the ring my 'cable key'. I won't be traveling without it.