How To Find Hidden Cameras In Hotels And Airbnbs

There will be times when owners might put hidden recording devices around their rental properties. Why?

Well, it could be for unsavoury reasons, but some owners have confessed it’s because they’ve had nightmare experiences with renters and need ways to protect their business. Either way, you have the right to know if they’re in there or how to spot them and what to do after.


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Odd Gadgets 

For example, maybe an alarm clock is plugged into a phone charger instead of the standard plug.

Look around the space to see if any object look out of place or set up in a strange way. Look for wires or places that could have camera holes.


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The Right Mindset

One hardcore BnB-stayer says she pretty much assumes there will be security cameras in all public rooms – like front door entrances,  patios, kitchen, and living rooms (which can be entirely legal – especially external cameras that monitor the grounds).

So, it’s places like the bedroom and bathroom she concentrates her searches. However, she also warns about another issue.


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Over-Paranoid 

It can be very easy to fall into the “ultra-paranoid” mindset – thinking that there are cameras in every corner.

This leads to all BnB stays being stressful when they should be enjoyable, or at least restful. Thankfully, there are many other easy ways to spot these devices.


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Learn The Signs

First, read the location descriptions carefully.

If there are any cameras, any good host will have put those details in there. Also, take a look at photos of the various rooms. It also doesn’t take much research to learn what are common locations – things like stuffed animals, smoke detectors, clock radios, men’s shower gel, and USB wall plugs.


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Just Ask

This only works if you’re face to face the the actual owner.

Just ask them, flat out, if there are any cameras. Most will admit to them and the rest who try to lie about it will be very easy to catch – mostly because it’s hard to lie on the spot about something that could be very illegal. If it’s through a rental service, it doesn’t hurt to ask that either.


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Check The Mirror – Part 1

Look for little pin holes anywhere around the mirror.

It can be harder to spot if there are any unique or intricate frames. But since many mirrors have sensor buttons, there could be holes right in the reflective part. If it’s not a touch-sensor button, just tape it over while you’re there.


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Unplug It

Maybe there’s an odd looking clock in your room.

Since many cameras need a power source, the simple solution is just to unplug it.  However, modern “nanny cams” don’t always need a power source to keep rolling. Thankfully, there’s a super-simple solution…


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Clothes

Grab a t-shirt or a towel and drape it over the suspicious object.

Voila! The camera won’t be able to film through the material and you don’t have to fret about wanting to dissect or dismantle anything that gives you the heebie-jeebies. On, next level, put it in a closet or drawer.


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There’s An App

There are several smartphone apps that scan the WiFi network to detect any attached cameras.

This, however, won’t work for wired (power-over-ethernet) cameras. There are also apps that can detect inferred cameras as well. So cool! All you have to do is wait until it gets dark, turn off all the lights, and turn on your camera as if you were about to take a photo (or use the app) and it should spot those night time peepers. 


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They’re Tiny

Hidden cameras come inside of small objects.

Think of pens, motion detectors, Bluetooth speakers, and necklaces. There are also tiny ones that are 1-inch or smaller. They can be hidden in normal décor like lampshades, picture frames, house plants, and blinds. 


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Check the Mirror Part 2

Just put your finger up to the mirror and see if there is a gap between you and the reflection.

If you notice there is a gap between the mirror on your finger, it indicates a real mirror. Ff there is no gap which your finger and the image reflection is touching tip to tip, there might be a hidden camera inside the mirror – maybe, not always though.


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Go 007

If you want to ramp up the tech, there are device detectors that can be bought online for a reasonable amount of money.

They can find hidden cameras, bugs, RF frequencies, and more! But this is going pretty hardcore in the “battle against cameras” – and maybe only suitable if you’re someone who’s constantly in hotels or Air BnBs. 


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Unplug The Router

Another super simple way is to unplug the router.

Since most places SHOULD have a dedicated line just for guests, unplugging yours (and then getting a call from your host as to why things are unconnected) will tell you if they’re looking where they shouldn’t. All you have to do is be without WiFi for a little – so it’s best to do it when you’re going to be out and about.


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Taking The Next Step

If you do end up finding one, follow these steps…

First, take photo of the device installed. Better yet, take a video of the entire process. The idea is to get as many details a possible. Also, don’t touch it and get your fingerprints all over it! But that’s not all.


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Make The Call

First, contact the service provide or the Air Bnb Trust & Safety team. 

They should be able to tell you how to move forward – which is usually by calling the police. However, keep in mind that there are some places that hosts are allowed to film. So if there’s a camera on the front door or front gate, it’s not something to get into a twist about.


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Other Places

With tech being so small, there are endless places to hide cameras.

In air fresheners, makeup mirrors, tv/cable boxes, DVD cases, tissue boxes, paintings, and other wall decorations. Whether it’s to keep an eye on untrustworthy hotel workers, to make sure guests aren’t doing anything shady, or owners looking to do something illegal, there are endless ways and places to hide a camera.


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More Places!

The list goes on…

Sofa cushions, tea pots, coffee makers, electrical sockets, air vents, bookshelves, coat hooks, and curtain rods are all possible places. But what if you’re in a pinch and don’t have fancy detecting equipment? 


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Make A Call

More often than not, a simple phone call will help point you in the right direction.

If you’re on the phone, just walk around the room – in to all corners and crannies. If there is some sort of noise interference, there might be a camera nearby. 


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Maintain Perspective 

All this being said, it might make every hotel room feel unsafe.

However, even if there is a rise in camera use, the instances are still quite rare. Experts say you should be more worried about looking for bed bugs or Windex’ed glassware than recording devices. 

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