We are currently recuperating from our big family vacation. This is not an undertaking we tackle often, as you can imagine the amount of preparation, packing, planning, and patience it takes to take 8 people on a week-long trip. However, I do think it's important, at least once a year if possible, to make the effort. Children are truly only small for so long, and these are memories that they will have for their entire life. "Remember when Daddy took us to the drive-in?" (yes, we really did find a still-operating drive-in!) "Remember when the GPS lead us down that scary, curvy, one-lane backroad through the woods?" "Remember the round of mini-golf at the amusement park when the toddler snatched up our ball and ran away with it down the path?" "Remember when Gregory dumped his caramel sundae all down his front in his car seat?" All of these things are small, and may seem insignificant to us grown-ups, but here's the thing: what the kids are really remembering is the time you spent together. The change in scenery and routine cements the memories in their minds, but it is the experience of being with you and interacting with you in a relaxed and fun manner that matters most.
You do not have to go to great expense; in fact you do not even have to travel far, geographically-speaking. We just tooled around Ohio's Amish country (where, incidentally, families with 6-8 children are the norm and we were not looked at as if we were completely insane. A nice change!) Daytrips and staycations can also fit the bill very well. But please... take the time. Make the memories. They will be grown before we know it.