Insect pests continue to exact a high toll on agricultural production, in spite of intense agrochemical input. The movement of insect pests from one place to another underlies their abundance and distribution in space and time, hence, ultimately, the extent of the inflicted crop damage. An improved understanding of dispersal mechanisms assists the deployment of sustainable pest management practices. Here, we review the latest advances in the study of the dispersal of herbivore insect pests in contemporary agro-ecosystems. We address the factors triggering dispersal in typical agricultural landscapes, the contribution of agro-ecosystem design and management to dispersal patterns, and the wider implications of natural and human-mediated dispersal. Integrating practical knowledge with evolutionary theory holds the potential to improve predictions on how insect pests respond to present and future challenges imposed by changes of climate and land use.