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Using ini_set seems a bit chicken and egg to me... I would want the include path set before I do anything on my page, then include the header with simply include('header.php') and not worry about the path (same with all other includes from then on).
But if I have to put ini_set at the top of every page on my site, that defeats the point a little, considering I want a globally managed include path that I can set in one place. So then if I put the ini_set in a globally included file... how do I include it without a relative/absolute URL if ini_set has not yet happened?
Is there a solution that allows me to set the includes path somewhere for the entire site, without ever having to then specify include paths later? .htaccess perhaps?