How to Find Hidden Spy Cameras in Hotel Rooms and Rental Home

Hidden spy cameras in hotel rooms and rental homes have become a growing concern for travelers. According to security experts, there are both high-tech and low-tech methods to uncover these concealed devices.

How to Find Hidden Spy Cameras in Hotel Rooms and Rental Home

This article will guide you through practical steps to detect hidden cameras, ensuring your privacy and peace of mind.

Why Hidden Cameras Are a Growing Problem

The proliferation of hidden spy cameras is due to their increasing accessibility and affordability. Kenneth Bombace, CEO of Global Threat Solutions, explains that the rise in reports of hidden cameras correlates with the public's growing ability to detect them. For instance, nearly 60% of Americans expressed concerns about hidden cameras in Airbnb homes in 2019, and 11% of vacation home renters reported discovering a hidden camera during their stay.

Conduct a Physical Search

Focus on Private Areas

Start your search in the most private areas, such as bathrooms and bedrooms. While Airbnb hosts can legally have cameras on their property, they must notify guests, and the cameras must not be in private spaces.

Inspect Household Devices

Hidden cameras are often concealed in everyday household items like lights, thermostats, and clock radios. Bombace advises looking for anything that seems out of place and inspecting it closely. Most spy cameras require a power source, so unplugging devices like clock radios can be an effective first step.

Use a Flashlight

Even the best-hidden cameras will have a small reflective lens. Shining a flashlight on suspected objects can help you spot these reflections, indicating the presence of a camera. However, Michael O'Rourke, CEO of Advanced Operational Concepts, warns that this method requires patience and a systematic approach to avoid missing hidden lenses.

Check the Wi-Fi Network

 Scan for Devices

Hidden cameras must connect to a local Wi-Fi network to stream footage remotely. Apps like Fing can scan the network and identify connected devices, including cameras. Bombace notes that some hidden cameras may use a separate Wi-Fi network, but Wi-Fi scanning apps can also detect multiple networks in the residence.

Look for Network Names

Security researcher Kody Kinzie suggests using apps like WiGLE to find devices broadcasting their own network names. This method can help you identify hidden cameras that might not appear on the main Wi-Fi network.

Use a Spy Camera Detector

Radio Frequency Scanners

If physical searches and Wi-Fi scans fail, consider using a spy camera detector. These devices scan for radio frequencies emitted by hidden cameras. However, O'Rourke points out that this method works only if the camera is transmitting data. Many modern spy cameras store data on SD cards, making them harder to detect.

Quality Matters

Bombace advises that while radio frequency scanners are available online, cheaper models are likely ineffective. High-quality scanners can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars but offer better detection capabilities.

What to Do If You Find a Hidden Camera

Disconnect Without Damaging

If you find a hidden camera, disconnect it immediately without damaging it. According to Kinzie, the camera's firmware may contain essential information like login credentials and Wi-Fi details.

Report the Incident

Report the discovery to the front desk if you're in a hotel. O'Rourke recommends moving to another hotel rather than requesting a different room, as the entire establishment's security may be compromised. Additionally, report the incident to the police for documentation and to Airbnb to prevent the host from repeating the offense.

Stay Vigilant but Not Fearful

Bombace advises travelers not to avoid renting homes due to spy camera fears but to take common-sense precautions. Remember that you’re not in your own home, and such measures can significantly enhance your security.


Finding hidden spy cameras in hotel rooms and rental homes requires vigilance and the right tools. By conducting thorough physical searches, checking Wi-Fi networks, and using specialized detectors, you can protect your privacy while traveling. Always report any suspicious findings to the appropriate authorities to help combat this growing issue.

By following these guidelines and staying informed, you can enjoy your stays without the looming worry of hidden cameras.

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