Simple methods to detect a hidden camera

Airbnb rules for hosts, according to their website:

We require hosts to disclose all surveillance devices in their listings, and we prohibit any surveillance devices that are in or that observe the interior of certain private spaces (such as bedrooms and bathrooms) regardless of whether they’ve been disclosed.

We require that you indicate its presence in your House Rules. We also require you to disclose if an active recording is taken. 

Should we trust our hosts?

Or take a few minutes to conduct a few simple tests?

eyeball test

  • Look around for anything that is shiny and reflects light, something that could indicate a lens. Turn off the lights, and look again, this time using your phone flashlight to pick up a flash.
  • Trace any cords or electrical lines. What might look like a charger–on closer inspection–could actually be a hidden device.
  • Notice if anything is weirdly positioned in the room: a too-high mirror, anything in a corner, a smoke detector on the perimeter of a room, rather than in the middle.
  • Also, check out strange looking alarm clocks or smoke detectors, things with extra bumps or lumps that could indicate a device.
  • Surveillance equipment can be hidden in:
    • Smoke detectors
      Electrical outlets
      Power strips
      Night lights
      Tiny holes in the wall
      Pictures or other decorations
      Stuffed animals


Check the wireless system. Review the list of devices that are connected to the router. Some hidden devices have their own hotspot, however. So also look for strong signals that don’t seem to be coming from a legit source.


On Amazon, you can buy a device for about $100 that’ll detect if something is transmitting data.


In countries like Russia and China, don’t check for devices. Just assume that they’re there. Anyone watching you search for devices could tag you as suspicious.

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