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We are going to Bali and Lombok at the end of July. Some colleagues told us not worry about booking hotels or B&Bs in advance, others said the complete opposite.

We do not need luxury or "popular" hotels, but would like clean and comfortable rooms in mid-priced hotels (budget: up to 50 US$ per person/night). Some of the places we would like to visit are Kuta, Ubud, Munduk, Pemuteran and Gili Trawangan.

My question is:

Would you recommend that we book the sort of hotel I described above in advance, at this time of the year? Will many of them be booked out if we don't?

(Do you perhaps have personal experience with this specific destination in recent years?)

(I am not yet familiar with the tag system of this SE site, please retag if needed and remove this notice. Thanks.)

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    July is a popular holiday month in the Netherlands and Indonesia is a relatively polular destination. I would certainly check out with booking sites how much is available before going. Maybe book a room with no or low cancelation costs when there are a lot of bookings for the time. – Willeke Jun 21 '16 at 20:22
  • @Willeke: on Bali the Dutch are vastly outnumbered by Australians – RemcoGerlich Jun 23 '16 at 12:15
  • @RemcoGerlich July is also winter school holidays in Australia, so it's a popular month to visit from there as well. – jpatokal Jun 23 '16 at 13:25
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There are a lot of hotels in Bali and Lombok, so I think you will be fine without booking in advance. However, I would recommend that you do otherwise, unless you're willing to take the first hotel you see. I once did this in Jogjakarta (no booking) and won't do it again. It's a waste of time, going from one hotel to another to find the best price.

Searching online is more comfortable. You get to see pictures and read reviews from other people. Not all hotels are advertised online though (especially the cheap ones), but within your budget, you should get quite a lot of options in internet. As Willeke pointed out, there are rooms with no or low cancellation cost (until a couple of days before arrival). I went to Lombok and Sumbawa last January and booked all hotels in advance.

UPDATE

I read the other answer and decided to put my comment here. Pictures can be different, that's why I recommend to book only from trustworthy websites and always read the reviews. If there is no review yet, google it. If you don't book in advance, always ask to see the room first before paying, especially if the hotel is small. Yes, ripping off happens, even to me as an Indonesian. Try to get an idea of the ideal price before doing anything. Be careful and I hope you enjoy your trip!

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I recommend you not to book and find a hotel when you get there because in the internet it might look different. And there're plenty of the hotels anyway. Get a list of the hotels where you'll want to stay with the prices. Be aware that most of the locals in Indonesia, such as motorbike and taxi drivers as well owners of guesthouses and street vendors, love to rip off foreigners.

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