Origin of travel

1325–75; Middle English (north and Scots), orig. the same word as travail (by shift “to toil, labor” > “to make a laborious journey”)
Related forms

Usage note

The word travel has come to exemplify a common spelling quandary: to double or not to double the final consonant of a verb before adding the ending that forms the past tense ( –ed ) or the ending that forms the present-participle ( –ing. ) We see it done both ways—sometimes with the same word ( travel, traveled, traveling; travel, travelled, travelling ). As readers, we accept these variations without even thinking about them. But as writers, we need to know just when we should double that final consonant and when we should not. Because American practice differs slightly from British practice, there is no one answer. But there are well-established conventions.
In American writing, when you have a one-syllable verb that ends with a single vowel followed by a single consonant, and you want to add a regular inflectional ending that begins with a vowel, you double that final consonant before adding -ed or -ing : stop, stopped, stopping; flag, flagged, flagging. This principle also holds for verbs of more than one syllable if the final syllable is stressed: permit, permitted, permitting; refer, referred, referring. If that syllable is not stressed, there is no doubling of the final consonant: gallop, galloped, galloping; travel, traveled, traveling.
British spelling conventions are similar. They deviate from American practices only when the verb ends with a single vowel followed by an l . In that case, no matter the stress pattern, the final l gets doubled. Thus British writing has repel, repelled, repelling (as would American writing, since the final syllable is stressed). But it also has travel, travelled, travelling and cancel, cancelled, cancelling, since in the context of British writing the verb’s final l, not its stress pattern, is the determining factor. Verbs ending in other consonants have the same doubling patterns that they would have in American writing. An outlier on both sides of the Atlantic is the small group of verbs ending in -ic and one lonely -ac verb. They require an added k before inflectional endings in order to retain the appropriate “hard” sound of the letter c : panic, panicked, panicking; frolic, frolicked, frolicking; shellac, shellacked, shellacking. Canadians, of course, are free to use either British or American spellings.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for travelling

British Dictionary definitions for travelling

travel

/ (ˈtrævəl) /

verb -els, -elling or -elled or US -els, -eling or -eled (mainly intr)

noun

Word Origin for travel

C14 travaillen to make a journey, from Old French travaillier to travail
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for travelling

travel


v.

late 14c., "to journey," from travailen (1300) "to make a journey," originally "to toil, labor" (see travail). The semantic development may have been via the notion of "go on a difficult journey," but it may also reflect the difficulty of going anywhere in the Middle Ages. Replaced Old English faran. Travels "accounts of journeys" is recorded from 1590s. Traveled "experienced in travel" is from early 15c. Traveling salesman is attested from 1885.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper