The best hidden camera detectors to give you peace of mind on your next getaway
You’ve browsed through dozens of vacation rentals to find the perfect one for your next getaway. You’ve spent a ton of time planning the trip to a T and you’re super excited to finally enjoy your stay. But now as you start to pack your bags with your favorite travel pillowyour laptop Hair dryerand all your others travel necessities for your upcoming vacation, your heart suddenly sinks at the thought of something you’ve heard about lately: short-term rentals can feature hidden cameras to keep tabs on vacationers.
Shit. Nobody wants to be watched while they’re, well, everywhere, but especially not while they’re staying in a vacation rental — but it’s totally allowed in many cases! At best, you can just find a security camera allowed outside property (although, of course, those doorbell cameras are always a little weird). But, your vacation rental listing service of choice might allow security cameras and noise monitoring devices in all common areas (but not sleeping areas or bathrooms), provided they are clearly stated in the listing description.
In both cases, however, the mere thought that monitoring devices are allowed somewhere is enough to make your brain spin and worry that they are everywhere. Worse still, these tiny pinhole cameras can be very difficult to detect with the naked eye and are sometimes so cleverly hidden that you might not even know where to start looking.
Luckily, if you’re feeling as paranoid as I am about this possibility, there’s a simple solution to reassure you: hidden camera detectors.
What is a spy camera detector?
They come in different forms, but in general, the best hidden camera detectors are small, portable security devices that can help you spot a hidden camera easily and give you peace of mind. The thing is, you go on vacation to relax and unwind, without worrying about someone constantly (and spookily) watching your every move. For this reason, the best hidden camera detectors will help you detect active surveillance cameras so you don’t hit your weed pen in front of that “clock” next to the TV in the living room, for example. Or, you can (properly) narc on the host if you find an undisclosed camera it doesn’t belong to.
What types of hidden camera detectors are there?
Most spy camera detectors use light to detect hidden cameras, but some also detect waves that could locate eavesdropping devices. Here’s what each type can do:
Infrared detector. Almost all cameras have an infrared filter, so when you point a strong LED or infrared light at it, the light bounces off the hidden camera lens, making it very obvious that there is a camera there. An infrared detector should have strong LEDs or infrared lights – usually flashing, but not always – that reflect light back to you when aimed at a camera lens. They are generally very simple to use and are often very portable.
Radio frequency (RF) detector. These devices pick up RF signals, or radio waves, that are emitted by wireless cameras as well as audio listening devices, GPS trackers, SIM card bugs, and other listening devices you may encounter. However, suspicious devices will need to actively transmit (or broadcast) for the waves to be picked up by your detector. These devices are also a bit more complex to use and tend to be a bit bulkier to carry around.
Some of the best hidden camera detectors also come with magnetic field detection capabilities, but this feature is geared more towards detecting GPS tracking devices. If that’s also a concern for you, these all-in-one spy devices are a great option; if not, however, you may not want to pay the higher cost of advanced detection capabilities.
How does a hidden camera detector work?
Infrared camera detectors are generally quite simple to use. Most of these hidden camera detectors have a series of flashing lights and a viewfinder that you can look through as you move around your hotel room, rental property, or any other place where you suspect a camera may be hidden. . If you come across a place that reflects your light back to you, then you have found a camera.
RF detectors, however, work a little differently. They will pick up any devices emitting a signal, including Wi-Fi routers, cell phones, and similar devices. If you have the ability to disable these items, you should definitely do so before you start scanning the room; otherwise, the detector will trigger just about anywhere you point it.
Once you have done this you need to divide the room into quadrants and work each section thoroughly and carefully, and of course you need to pay the utmost attention when scanning the bedrooms and bathrooms as these would be the most large targets. If you find a signal from something like an alarm clock or a smoke detector, you’ll want to inspect these devices very closely as they generally don’t emit an RF signal. Inspect these devices for wires, camera lenses, or anything else that might look suspicious.
Is there an application to detect hidden cameras?
There are many cheap and free smartphone apps like Reflection seeker(opens in a new tab) for Android and Hidden camera search(opens in a new tab) on iOS, but they are not as effective as a device specially designed to detect a spy camera. These hidden camera detector apps won’t be able to effectively search for RF signals, for example, and any light your smartphone might be emitting likely won’t offer the same spy camera detection accuracy as the best hidden camera detectors. the low. .
That said, you can’t really beat the price of free, so these apps are worth a shot if you don’t have anything else!
What should I do if I find a hidden camera in my rental that breaks the rules?
Whichever option you choose, the best hidden camera detectors will help you find recording devices in your vacation rental. The hope is that you won’t find a hidden camera that shouldn’t be there, in which case you can enjoy the well-deserved getaway you paid for with your hard-earned cash. (Yay!)
On the other hand, unfortunately, you might find exactly what you were looking for: a hidden camera in a place where it’s explicitly forbidden. If you spot a hidden camera that violates the rules of the service where the rental was listed, don’t touch it or contact your host! Let it be and contact the referral department immediately so you can properly taunt your host and let the service know that they put you in a totally scary situation. And, if you really feel threatened or in danger, also contact local law enforcement authorities. (But in most cases, contacting the registration department – and possibly just leaving the rental – will suffice.)
Depending on where the now uncovered cameras are and your comfort level, you may choose to just cover them up and continue your stay. However, if it really is a violation of the registration service’s monitoring policy, you should be entitled to a full refund of your stay if you decide to leave. However, this may differ depending on the service you used, so it’s best to check with them as soon as possible if you find anything wrong. Or, better yet, check out their policies before you even leave the house or book the rental to begin.