Travelled vs. Traveled: Navigating the Correct Spelling

, Staff Writer
Updated November 1, 2021
Couple Taking Picture in London and NY Travelled vs Traveled Examples
    Couple Taking Picture in London and NY Travelled vs Traveled Examples
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You receive an email that says “I just travelled to Spain,” and you do a double-take. “Shouldn’t it be spelled traveled?” you may ask. It depends on where you are in the world. Discover the difference between the spellings travelled and traveled and how to use them.

Traveled and Travelled: The Reason for the Difference

In short, traveled and travelled mean the same thing and serve the same purpose. However, traveled is the more popular spelling in American English, while travelled is the preferred British spelling. The reason behind American English favoring one “l” and British English preferring two comes down to Noah Webster, of Webster Dictionary fame. He determined that words like travel only needed one “l” in the past and present participle form.

So the question is not which is correct, but rather who you are writing to.

  • If you are American, work for an American company or go to a school that teaches American English, then you should always use the traveled spelling.
  • Much of the world uses standard British English spelling, so travelled is your best bet if you are communicating with someone outside of the U.S.
  • While Canada is technically part of North America, it is also one of the British Commonwealth countries. Canadians often tend toward British spelling standards. Therefore, they also adhere to the double "l" rule.

How to Use Traveled in a Sentence

Traveled is the past tense of the verb "to travel." The one “l” also applies to the conjugation traveling.

  • My boyfriend and I traveled to New York for his birthday.

  • Growing up, my family and I traveled all the time.

  • The group had been traveling for over a week.

Using Travelled in a Sentence

Since travelled and traveled mean the same thing, they serve the same purpose. Travelled is the commonly accepted spelling in places like the U.K., Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries that study British English.

  • They travelled to London on the tube.

  • I travelled to Australia once.

  • We are travelling to Scotland.

American vs. British English Spelling Strategies

Now that you have an understanding of the differences between American and British spelling standards, explore similar words that are spelled differently such as toward and towards. Then, check out foreign words that are spelled differently in American English, such as catalog and catalogue.