Finding Hidden Surveillance Camera in your Hotel Room or Airbnb


Hidden cams in hotel rooms have been a concern of mildly-paranoid travelers. But over the last years, headlines have been focused on a different issue: concealed and undisclosed cameras in hotels and Airbnb rentals. While it is not against Airbnb and hotels’ terms of service for security cams to be installed on hosted properties, there are clear rules around this practice.

Any recording devices on the premises need to be disclosed, even if they are outside the property or not working, and they cannot be installed in private spaces like bathrooms and bedrooms. But some hosts either haven’t got memorandums about the disclosures or choose to ignore it. That is slightly less of a privacy concern when cameras are in plain sight in common areas, but when it is hidden inside fake smoke detectors, picture frames, or alarm clocks? That is a different question.

To find out more about the legality of this subject, click here for details.

A real problem

The good news is, if a person is concerned about hidden cams in their Airbnb or hotel rooms, they are not entirely powerless. There are some ways to track these things down, none of which need more than some effort and time, as well as the smartphone in their pockets. This article will cover some of these techniques, including network scanning, looking for infrared lights and reflections, or physical inspections.

Always remember that while they all provide people a better chance of detecting consumer-grade security cameras, there are still no guarantees. Individuals with enough skills, motivation, and money can set up hidden recording devices that are virtually impossible to find or detect with the help of an expert or professional equipment. But a lot of hotels and Airbnb employees and hosts thankfully do not fall into this category.

Detecting concealed or spy cams

There are various types of concealed or spy cameras, both in capabilities and physical appearance. We will take a closer look at physical attributes, but some types are easier to find compared to others in terms of functionalities. In general, security cameras, whether hidden or in plain sight, come in three varieties.

Most of these things are designed for homes, connected wirelessly through the Internet to view video feeds remotely or upload to servers outside properties. Other recording devices, especially expensive models, use physical cables instead of connecting to Wi-Fi to make connections to local networks. Usually, the same line will provide power to the device as well.

Depending on how they are set up, both wireless and wired cams may be detectable using different applications. A third common kind of security cam does not have any Internet features. These include traditional analog systems and cameras that record footage to SD cards or other kinds of storage for people to collect at later dates. These things are impossible to find using conventional programs and applications but can still be detected during physical inspections.

Want to know more about Wi-Fi? Visit to find out more.

Start with physical inspections

The first thing people need to do when finding concealed devices in Airbnb or hotel rooms is to do physical inspections. Property owners need to remember that to be effective; these devices need three things: enough light to record scenes, a reliable power source, and a good line of sight of the area they are recording.

While it is possible to build concealed cams into ceilings or walls, it is less common since that needs additional cost and construction. Instead, spy cameras are usually hidden inside common everyday objects that will not raise suspicions in the environment it is placed in. Since they need a consistent power source, a lot of hidden cams are set into electronic devices with existing cable structures.

People will also usually find them in things mounted on ceilings or walls since cables can be concealed above or behind devices. Common targets are objects that are not usually picked up, examined, or moved around. These objects are commonly used to conceal security or spy cameras. Make sure to check any of the following:


Tiny pinholes

Transparent areas in solid exteriors

Openings in ceilings or walls

Places where individuals can access or install cameras without being particularly obvious

How to find hidden recording devices without mobile phones

If a basic inspection does not find anything, it is time to pull out your mobile phone. Finding these things with your smartphones can be done in two ways: using the mobile phone’s camera and flashlight for physical detection and scanning computer networks.

Detecting hidden lenses

All recording devices have lenses, and these things reflect light. Because of this, the easiest checks people can do for concealed cams is to close the room’s curtains, turn off the lights, and use the mobile phone’s flashlight to look for reflections where they should not be.

Since light needs to hit reflective objects at the right angle to reflect it back, people will need to scan rooms pretty slowly and shine the flashlight from various spots. Remember that this method will not work for cameras that are hidden inside mirrors or anything with highly-reflective surfaces.

Detecting infrared from concealed cams

Unlike the human eye, mobile phone cameras have the ability to view IR or Infrared light sources. These lights are used for different purposes, especially in remote-controlled devices. Usefully for people, they are also found in a security or spy camera to let them work even in the absence of light.

Because of this, there is a good possibility to use mobile phones to find concealed cams thru infrared lights they emit. To prevent IR light sources from showing up in nighttime photos, rear-facing cams on most mobile phones usually have Infrared filters fitted. But the front camera often does not have these things.

Individuals can test this by turning the lights off and putting their mobile phones into selfie mode. They can point a normal television remote control at the front cam and push the remote’s buttons. IF a bright light appears on the phone screen when the button is pressed, it is good to go.

Using mobile phones to find Infrared lights from hidden recording devices in your room is the same as searching with flashlights. In dark rooms, enable the front camera on the tablet or mobile phone and pan the front of the gadget around the room. Do not forget the wall and ceiling.