On my last trip to China, I traveled to Hong Kong to give a talk for a company that was holding its annual convention there. The agreement I reached with them included my speaking fee, plus purchases of some of my books. (I autographed 300 books, and they gave them out as gifts to the group’s leaders. They also gave me a flat fee for my transportation.
Normally, when I travel to a place like China, which is so far away, I like to travel first class. In addition, I require a second ticket so that I can take an assistant with me. I do this for two reasons. First, as a legally blind person, it is literally impossible for me to travel to foreign countries on my own. Secondly, it is lonely to travel all that way, and I like having a friend along. Usually, my friend Michael Roden travels with me.
On this trip to Hong Kong, I bought two tickets in coach, then used frequent flyer miles to upgrade us to first. I got to keep the remainder of the travel money I negotiated for.
In addition, I began to network with associations and companies in the Hotel industry, to see if I could line up some speaking engagements. (I am a former chef, hotel onwer, etc. I often do workshops for that niche.) The results were fantastic!
I ended up going to Hong Kong about four days early, and stayed two days after the weekend speaking engagement. One hotel chain gave Michael and I each a wonderful suite in their five-star property. I did a 90-minute presentation, and got the rooms for free. We spent a couple of days exploring Hong Kong, and it gave me a chance to rest up before my big presentations to the Network Marketing company that brought me over in the first place.
After the weekend engagement, I had arranged a full-day workshop for the Hong Kong Hotels Association. They paid me, and also gave me a room/suite at the top hotel in Hong Kong.
On the flight home, Michael and I really enjoyed the first class treatment, and we had plenty of extra income to make the trip worth it. We saw all the sites in Hong Kong, and on the neighboring islands. The people were exceptionally nice.
Here is the lesson. When you book an international trip, look for ways to extend your stay, and make more money. After all, the major expense is the travel. As long as you are going that far, make it worth your while by attracting some extra business, and don’t be afraid to negotiate for “trade outs.”