I recently bought a WiFi speaker that needs to connect to a WiFi connection to play music from my phone. I also travel out of the country a couple times a year but do not have a data plan for out of the USA. Is there a way I can turn on my mobile hot-spot to connect my speaker to my phone without actually using data so I don't pay outrageous international data charges? I currently have an iPhone 7.
No. Your iPhone can only join or create a Wi-Fi network at any one time. It can't do both simultaneously.
But you can buy a small travel router to do what you want. Both your speaker and iPhone would connect to it.