To check for spy cameras in a hotel room, you should consider using an RF scanning device, looking for reflections, and doing an old-fashioned physical search of the room. Using all three methods, your chances of uncovering any cameras are high.
I’m Caleb, and I have more than four years of photography experience. My primary specialty is sports photography, where I’ve shot multiple sports at various levels.
In this article, I’ll talk about hidden cameras and how to avoid getting spied on by them in hotel rooms. If you’re traveling soon, make sure to keep reading to learn how you can protect your privacy.
The idea of looking for hidden cameras can seem daunting at first. After all, cameras these days can get pretty small, and most hotel rooms and Airbnb properties have no shortage of hiding spots.
However, there are only so many spots where it’s actually practical to place a camera. For one, you can probably rule out locations that wouldn’t give the camera a good view of you.
Some spots are also more likely than others to have cameras. Some common targets include private areas like bedrooms and bathrooms, but they can also include office spaces and desks.
Desks might seem unassuming, but they can easily be targets for identity thieves. Many hotel guests place their computers here and log into private sites such as their bank. Through this, they can inadvertently give up log-in info to a spy.
Out of Place Objects
It can also help to investigate objects that look out of place. For example, if an object is facing an unusual direction, it may have a camera inside.
Hidden cameras are small enough these days to go unnoticed as part of basic objects like clocks or smoke detectors.
If you find a particular object moved to face a specific direction every time the room is cleaned, it could be a sign that there’s a camera hidden within it.
Fortunately, there are multiple ways to find hidden cameras. All of these methods have strengths and weaknesses, but combining them makes your chances of finding any cameras pretty good.
1. RF Scanning
RF scanners are handheld devices that scan for radio frequencies. Basically, if there’s a camera hidden somewhere and transmitting data to another location, it will usually give off a frequency that the scanner can detect.
These devices are inexpensive, and you can order them from mainstream sellers like Amazon.
However, they aren’t perfect. If the camera stores data without transmitting it, or if it only sends the data briefly at a timed interval, an RF scanner probably won’t help much.
Also, since you’re most likely a novice at using these tools, you might miss a camera for other reasons, like scanning from too far away.
2. Looking for Reflections
Even if a camera isn’t sending out radio frequencies, you can still detect it through other means. All cameras need some kind of lens, which will usually have a reflection if you shine a light on it.
You don’t need to buy equipment to search using this method. Just the flashlight on your phone will do the job most times.
To find cameras, turn the lights off and pay attention as you shine your phone light around the room. If there’s a reflection showing up in an unexpected location, you might have just found a hidden camera.
3. Doing a Hands-On Search
Finally, there’s the method of doing a physical search. This is where you examine anything that looks off and check for cameras yourself.
As mentioned earlier, some of the best spots to check are where items look out of place. But this method is also pretty hit or miss because there are so many places where a small camera can go.
Anything from a power strip to a lamp can hide a camera, so your odds of finding one this way can quickly come down to luck.
Consider The Location
Location can also affect your chances of having cameras in your hotel room. In certain authoritarian countries, it’s common for popular hotels to have their rooms bugged by the authorities.
If you’re traveling abroad, it’s a good idea to do research ahead of time. Suppose you’re going somewhere with a reputation for spying on business travelers. In that case, you may want to avoid discussing trade secrets or logging into sensitive accounts in your hotel room at all.
After all, none of the methods mentioned above are guaranteed to uncover a hidden camera, and that’s just one way for a determined enough party to spy on you.
Here are some other frequently asked questions about hidden cameras.
If you find a hidden camera, you should contact the hotel staff and ask to be moved to a different room. If you have to stay in the same room for whatever reason, you should cover up any suspicious objects with something like a towel.
Usually, there isn’t an obvious way to tell if a hidden camera is recording. Unlike in movies, these cameras are designed for stealth and don’t have features like blinking red lights to alert you.
There’s no 100% foolproof way to find a camera in a hotel room, but if you look for reflections, use an RF scanner, and examine any suspicious objects, you’ll have a pretty good chance of finding any hidden cameras.
Have you ever felt suspicious about a hotel room? Do you have any tips of your own? Let us know in the comments.