How To Spot Hidden Cameras In Your Hotel Room Or Airbnb

No one is going to intentionally stick a camera in a hotel room to catch me in the shower, but the video camera might be there anyway, and it’s really creepy.

Cameras are often concealed inside of devices you’d expect to find in a room like a clock radio, a smoke detector, or inside an air conditioning vent. A viral TikTok video shows how to find any hidden cameras in your hotel room or Airbnb.


Reply to @safarijackza How to find hidden cameras in AirBnBs #safety #travel

♬ original sound – Marcus Hutchins

Here’s the basic advice:

  • Check around the room for devices near where someone might want to record, such as a bed or shower.

  • Check those devices for a camera by shining a light on them.

  • Look for infrared sensors on devices, more likely in a bedroom than bathroom (since people don’t usually shower in the dark)

  • You can also use a radio frequency detector to check for signals from devices

Here’s advice I’ve offered on finding any devices that may be in your room. Check for plaster near the wall or on furniture, because that could be from pinholes that were drilled. Look for unusual placement of objects (to get just the right angle on you). Look for new paint in areas. And listen for static from the hotel phone (which might mean a radio signal).

I’ve written about a woman suing Hilton for $100 million because an employee videotaped her in the shower and used the tape to blackmail her. There’s even been a subscription website where people paid to watch hotel guests being spied on in their rooms. Airbnb has a problem with hidden cameras in homes placed there by owners, too.

Of course in Japan you can rent a room where you’re only charged $1 because they actually adverise that you’ll be livestreamed on YouTube.

I believe major chain hotels – as a brand standard – should conduct regular sweeps to ensure guest privacy. This would be a nice differentiator from Airbnb (but then again so would daily housekeeping).

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. An AirBnB we stayed at in Mira Mesa Texas as a Google display and speakers in the bedroom. The owner did not disclose that the Google display as a built in camera.

  2. Gary,

    Why so concerned. Do you have something to be embarrassed about? Have you never been in a locker room shower or been w multiple women? If so plenty of people have seen you naked and you somehow survived.

    No big deal. – not sure why something like this bothers you

  3. Because people deserve to have their reasonable expectation of privacy be applicable to and delivered on stays at hotels and rented premises — very much akin to what they expect to be the case in their own, non-commercial homes or even when using a toilet in a public restroom.

    If you’re fine with people being spied upon behind a locked door even in the absence of a court-issued warrant, then the perverts and obnoxious can have an unwarranted field day knowing they have an ally out there who has no respect for the privacy rights of people with reasonable expectations of privacy.

  4. Major brand chain hotels don’t even want to pay to have the rooms swept/vacuumed clean like before, so the idea that they will want to pay to sweep for spying devices in all rooms is very far-fetched at this point.

  5. In order to answer AC completely, it would take paragraphs. Your attitude arises in this day and age of WOKENESS and that wokeness allows for anything and everything possible under the sun when it comes to Surveillance. The answer to his or hear question is simple: YOU might decide that you want to have SEX with a person of the same sex. SOME parts of the world, that is ABSOLUTELY PUNISHABLE BY DEATH. For the record, I am not gay but I know MANY people who are and they are very careful in some Middle eastern Countries to distance themselves, and not for COVID reasons.

  6. It is a problem – yes. Is it common – no. On the list of things I worry about in hotel rooms and other rented spaces, this ranks near the bottom of the list. I am not going to take my time looking for hidden recording devices unless re-up my security clearance. However, I might consider buying a throwaway phone should I travel to China or Russia, as I really don’t need spyware installed on my iPhone.

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