How to See if There Are Hidden Video Cameras in Your Airbnb

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Vacation rentals have grown in popularity over the last decade. And with them, horrifying instances of hidden cameras inside guest areas. You may have come across stories of travelers finding hidden cameras in their rooms.1 

But despite popular services like Airbnb and Vrbo banning indoor cameras, hidden cameras may still be lurking in your guest suite. With whole TikTok pages dedicated to the topic, it's no surprise that 58% of the 2,000 people surveyed worried about hidden cameras in their vacation rental.2

Next time you use Airbnb, Vrbo, or other vacation rental service, try a few of these tips to check for hidden cameras. 

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1. Scan the room

Hidden cameras come in shockingly small packages. Ordinary objects like smoke detectors, picture frames, and alarm clocks can fit tiny pinhole cameras inside.

A backpack on a nightstand, a smoke detector over the bed, and holes in walls are all worth investigating. Basically, look for items the feel out of place. For example, items that the host might normally remove if left by a previous guest or devices facing private areas of your space.  

“Cameras need power to work, so a good starting point is to look at what's plugged into the outlets. And pay extra attention in sensitive areas like bathrooms and bedrooms,” said safety expert Cathy Pedrayes.


Image: Alina Bradford, SafeWise

2. Use the lights

Like standard security cameras, hidden cameras have a reflective lens and infrared lights used to see in the dark. Knowing this, you can search your room for clues around any suspicious spots. 

Shine the a flashlight (your phone's light works too) to look for the blue-tinted reflection of the camera lens. You can also try turning out the lights and looking for the dim infrared glow of a camera's night vision turning on.3 

Check hanging items

While you’re on the search, check behind mirrors, artwork, and other wall decorations.

3. Try some tech

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While you may be diligent in your search, you can still miss some craftier hiding spots. You may want to consider an app, like Fing, that can check to see what devices are connected to the Airbnb’s Wi-Fi. There are also many hidden camera finding apps that can help.

For under $50, you can even get a little pocket-sized device that detects cameras, listening devices, and other potentially nefarious items in a room.

Pedrayes has an easy hack that’s free: “If the camera has infrared technology, you can use the front-facing camera on your phone or computer to scan the room. Make sure the lights are all off and it's dark. If there's a camera, you'll see a big spotlight on your phone, and then you can walk up to it and inspect it further.”

Pedrayes recommends testing this technique before you leave home. Remote controls use the same infrared technology as cameras. So, point your remote at your front-facing camera and see if you can see the light. If it doesn’t work with your phone, try your laptop camera.


Yes, but only on the outside of rentals. As of April 30, 2024, Airbnb has barred hosts from setting up indoor cameras and strictly forbids hidden cameras inside guest areas. 

Outside of the rental, cameras are allowed, but inside no cameras are allowed.

If you find a camera, take a video or photos of your findings, cover the camera, and call the local police’s non-emergency number. Then, contact the rental company. Make sure to leave a review online so others can avoid the rental.

Technically, yes, but only through outdoor cameras in open areas. Hosts are not allowed to set up any kind of indoor camera.

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Related articles on SafeWise


  1. The Atlantic, "Airbnb Has a Hidden Camera Problem." Accessed April, 22, 2024. 
  2. IPX 1031, “Survey: Do Airbnb Guests Trust Their Hosts?” April 7, 2019.  Accessed July 20, 2022.
  3. TikTok, Malwaretech, "How to find hidden cameras in AirBnBs."Accessed April 22, 2024. 


*Product prices and availability are accurate as of post date and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

Alina Bradford
Written by
Alina Bradford
Alina is a safety and security expert that has contributed her insights to CNET, CBS, Digital Trends, MTV, Top Ten Reviews, and many others. Her goal is to make safety and security gadgets less mystifying one article at a time. In the early 2000s, Alina worked as a volunteer firefighter, earning her first responder certification and paving the way to her current career. Her activities aren’t nearly as dangerous today. Her hobbies include fixing up her 100-year-old house, doing artsy stuff, and going to the lake with her family.

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