How to Detect Night Vision Cameras in an Airbnb

How to Detect Night Vision Cameras in an Airbnb

March 8, 2020 · 5 min. readThis article may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

I've used my fair share of Airbnbs, and I can honestly say I like them more than most hotels. I stayed in an Airbnb in Montreal, in Quebec City, in Krakow, in New Brunswick and most recently in Salt Lake City. Each experience has been wonderful, the hosts have been great, and the rooms were fantastic.

But not everybody has had such wonderful experiences. Because Airbnbs aren't regulated like most hotels, there is the occasional issue with hosts making unwanted advancements on guests, or even occasions of hosts secretly filming their guests. In response, Airbnb is making strides to make the experience for guests safer and to prosecute hosts that take advantage of them.

That being said, people are still people and things still happen in Airbnbs, as they sometimes happen in hotels too.

Living room in Airbnb

So, how can you check your room for night vision cameras that might be recording you? These days these cameras are small, smaller than a pen, and they can be hidden in walls, between books, under microwaves, and anywhere else. Thankfully the very way these cameras work is also the way you can stop them. You could use an EMP and short-circuit all electronics across the world...

Snake Plissken from Escape from LA before using the EMP

...or you could try and find the cameras yourself.

Night vision cameras use infrared light to see objects without the usual amount of light. Our eyes can't see infrared (or the extreme opposite, ultraviolet) but some animals and cameras can. These cameras work by emitting an "invisible" light and then recording the reflection of it.

Light spectrum

This might seem a little confusing, but a similar example is how your television remote controller works. When you push the buttons on the controller, it sends a signal to the TV to do something. The remote sends a beam of infrared light at the TV and the receiver picks it up. That's why if something is between the remote and the television, the signal won't go through, but you can stand a ways away from the tv and it'll still pick up the signal.

Bathroom in Airbnb

While our eyes can't see the light coming from the remote, cameras can, especially cellphone cameras. If you look through your cellphone camera with the lights off, you can see a purple light shine from your remote control when you push the buttons.

You can use this same technique in your Airbnb or hotel room too. Turn off the lights (or close the drapes), take out your phone and walk around the room. There will be a lot of little blips of lights, from smoke detectors, clocks, plugins, light switches, etc, but the colour to keep an eye out for is purple. If you find something, turn on the light and investigate it, especially if it's something that doesn't belong. If it is a camera, you should contact the local authorities and report them on the Airbnb website. The same goes for hotels, except you should contact the front desk immediately.

I tried this trick in Salt Lake City and found nothing. I also tried it in Moab, Utah, and still found nothing. It's a good thing that I didn't find any cameras, but I wish I had something to prove that this worked.

It shouldn't be said, but just to clarify, this doesn't work for regular cameras, only night vision ones.

Bedroom in Airbnb

Before I end the article, another bonus trick is one few people think about. Before you go to bed, put the television remote control in a zip lock bag. If you don't have one, you can put it in the microwave too (just don't turn it on!). People often check their blankets and pillows for bed bugs, but bed bugs can live inside the remote controls too, and those are never washed, cleaned or thrown away.

Do you have any other tips or tricks for people staying in hotels or Airbnbs? Let me know them in the comments below!

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